Iowans can tie yellow ribbons around their old oaks and other trees to welcome home returning National Guard soldiers after the Des Moines chapter of Operation Barnabas distributes free ribbon kits on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa.
As many as 4,000 12-foot-long yellow ribbons will be handed out by members of the local Operation Barnabas, an LCMS network of care and support to the nation’s military and their families that is part of the Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces. The distribution is from 5 to 9 a.m. as part of the annual Memorial Day breakfast at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.
“As we shared the idea of Operation Barnabas, our districts and congregations have taken ownership and are doing outreach that we never imagined,” said Chaplain Mike Moreno, Operation Barnabas project manager. “We are so thankful for how they are stepping up in such a tremendous way.”
Rev. Michael Wolfram, pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Des Moines, and a retired Navy Reserve chaplain, serves as the Barnabas counselor for the Synod’s Iowa District West. “The Guard is really excited about what we’re doing and invited us to not only pass out yellow ribbons but also information about Operation Barnabas,” Wolfram said.
Approximately 2,800 Iowa National Guard soldiers are scheduled to return from deployment this summer.
“Our goal is distribute thousands of yellow ribbons to be displayed on trees across central Iowa,” Katie Stout, president of the local Operation Barnabas chapter and a member of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Polk City, said in a chapter press release. Stout’s husband serves in Afghanistan with the Iowa National Guard.
“This symbol shows returning troops and their families the overwhelming support and appreciation that Iowans have for our military,” Stout said.
Moreno calls Operation Barnabas a “tangible outreach of Christ’s love to our military and their families in the midst of what can be very difficult times” before, during and after deployment. Operation Barnabas chapters operate or are forming in several states. The ministry is named for Barnabas, Paul’s companion in the Bible, who helped him in his missionary journey and whose name means “son of encouragement.”
To learn more about Operation Barnabas, visit www.operationbarnabas.org or send an email to Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Operation Barnabas in Iowa, visit www.IowaMilitarySupport.org.
Posted May 27, 2011/Updated May 31, 2011