Rural Missouri - October 2010 - (Page 5)
Hart to Heart
Supporting the Guard, repaying a favor
by Barry Hart
ou never know where a new relationship will take you. An example of this is our guest columnist this month, Missouri National Guard Adj. Gen. Steve Danner. I have known Steve for many years, and his assistance has led to many wonderful things for Missouri’s electric co-ops and rural people. Steve’s first connection with electric co-ops came on the 1970 Youth Tour. It’s a well-known fact that those who attend the Youth Tour — which sends students to Washington, D.C., to learn about government and cooperatives — end up being great leaders. That was the case with Steve, who graduated from the University of Missouri, served with the Army in Iraq and was elected state representative and later state senator. His mother, Pat, also was a big supporter of electric co-ops and went on to represent northwest Missouri as a state senator and congresswoman. As an elected official, Steve was always ready and willing to help his rural constituents. Many times we called on him when electric coops needed his support. That didn’t
change when Steve switched from the statehouse to the Guard. Whether it’s using heavy equipment to open roads so co-op employees can restore power after a storm, securing diesel fuel during disasters, sending troops door to door to make sure the elderly are OK when the power is off, or offering military police to direct traffic at annual meetings, the Guard has always responded. This summer, I got an opportunity to repay Adj. Gen. Danner for his help. Under his direction, the Guard is playing a major role in reinventing agriculture in war-torn Afghani-
stan. Our military leaders realized early in the conflict the only way to end that nation’s cycle of war is to improve its economy. Missouri Guard units were the first in the nation to send an Agri-business Development Team to Afghanistan to train farmers in modern ag techniques. Four teams have been trained for deployment in Nangarhar Province. As a result, the region has seen a 25 percent increase in ag production, and the province’s director of agriculture gives much of the credit for the increase to the Guard. I’ve been keeping tabs on this effort
“If a co-op can bring half as many benefits to Afghanistan as it did to rural America, that country could be well on its way to prosperity in short order.” Barry Hart
through Three Rivers Electric Co-op Director Paul LePage, a Guard member who offered his expertise early on. I was pleased when Adj. Gen. Danner asked us to help teach co-op principles to the fourth team. This was done by Barton County Electric Manager Bobbie Jeffries, AMEC’s Rob Land and me at Camp Clark in Nevada, Mo. Since roughly 85 percent of Afghans are farmers, the entire country stands to benefit from this effort. If a co-op can bring half as many benefits to Afghanistan as it did to rural America, that country could be well on its way to prosperity in short order. I’d like to do more to help the Guard in its peaceful efforts but wasn’t sure how to help. That’s why we asked Adj. Gen. Danner to write this month’s guest column. Please read the column below and join me in supporting this valuable work. Missouri’s citizen soldiers have certainly earned our gratitude and support. If you see a member of the Missouri National Guard or Adj. Gen. Danner, thank them for what they do to protect our freedom. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
How you can help a patriot
hanks to the electric cooperatives for their assistance in support of our Agri-business Development Team (ADT). This is an excellent example of how the Missouri National Guard and its strategic partners can work together in order to pool talent and expertise to achieve missions at home or abroad. Indeed much has been reported lately about Missouri’s success with its team in Afghanistan. Missouri’s ADT mission has been to use the National Guard’s unique civilmilitary status to promote sustainable farming practices in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Our direct engagement strategy with Afghan farmers helps them overcome their challenges. Many of our stateside strategic partners collaborate with us by providing technical expertise, resources and timely advice to citizen-soldiers and airmen who have advanced agricultural education and experience. Missourians should be proud of the men and women who voluntarily serve with our ADTs. But as Paul Harvey said, “Now for the rest of the story.” The true strength and success of our Guard is the family. We could not field the most capable armed force in this country’s history without the sup-
by Steve Danner
port of the Guard family. The family is the true “strategic partnership,” which we must support to our fullest. Since becoming adjutant general, I’ve worked to make additional resources available for our families. The Missouri National Guard manages its Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program for “those who serve, and those who support.” This program benefits Guard members and their families by helping guide them to whatever is needed to help them “reintegrate” following a deployment. In addition, the Guard now has a full-time director of psychological health, a suicide prevention program manager, and we have just hired our third military family
life consultant. Another first is our new resiliency program. It takes a holistic approach to strengthening the underpinnings of our guardsmen’s mental and physical well-being, which has a direct impact on the health and stability of the family. These programs are designed to keep them strong. However, these programs are a challenge to fund. During these tough economic times, I am grateful for the generosity of those who recognize the need to support families. The Missouri National Guard Foundation and the Missouri National Guard Association are working to help provide a better quality of life for Guard families. The foundation is
“We could not field the most capable armed force in this country’s history without the support of the Guard family.” Steve Danner
an organization comprised of retired Guard members and hard-working Missourians dedicated to the promotion and support of specific Guard programs, such as the Missouri Youth ChalleNGe Program — an educational academy for Missouri’s at-risk youth — and Camp Guardian, a camp for special-needs children. The association is an organization of active and retired Guard soldiers and airmen working alongside key industry partners. Both entities work to raise money and donate services for the well-being of Guard members. Their efforts strive to fill the gaps between where government dollars might have been and the future of family programs. Anyone can support the foundation and the association. We invite all to join us to ensure the continued success of our family-oriented programs and services. You can contact the association by e-mailing michael. firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 573-6324240 or online at www.mongaonline. com. You can contact the foundation at email@example.com, by phone at 573-636-5873 or www.mongf.org. Now you know the rest of the story . . . good day! Danner is the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2010
Rural Missouri - October 2010
Good Times on the Berryman
Elk in Missouri?
Out of the Way Eats
Live Like a Viking
Two Men and a Cave
Hearth and Home
Paddlin' for a Cure
Get in Touch with Ghosts
Rural Missouri - October 2010
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