RICHVILLE – Soldiers and family members, including Specialist Scott A. Lafaver, of the New York Army National Guard's 206th Military Police Company will gather for their unit's "Freedom Salute" at the Desmond Hotel in Latham this weekend following their return from Iraq.
The ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 11 is the culmination of the unit's Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, designed to help Soldiers and families deal with the stress of returning from a combat zone.
Specialist Scott A. Lafaver from Richville completed the Reintegration Program with the unit Freedom Salute ceremony, honoring the service of the Soldiers, the commitment of the families and the support of the community.
Background on the 206th Military Police Company:
More than 160 members of the 206th Military Police Company entered Active Duty in June of 2009 and deployed to Basra Iraq in August 2009. While there, the 206th helped train Iraqi police officers and assisted in providing security for Iraqi parliamentary elections held in March 2010.
The company is headquartered in Latham but has Soldiers assigned from all areas of New York. In addition to the Capital District, Soldiers from New York City, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Utica, Auburn, Hornell, Rochester, Binghamton and Buffalo areas deployed with the unit.
Background on the Yellow Ribbon Re-Integration Program:
The New York Army National Guard Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program was created to help Soldiers and their family members cope with the stress of returning to civilian life after deployment, while also helping Army National Guard units transition from federal mobilization status back to state control. Yellow Ribbon events have proved to be an effective way to help reintegrate troops with families, employers and the community.
The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program requires Soldiers to be present for paid assemblies at approximately 30 and 60 days after their return from a combat zone, and invites families to attend as well. The sessions are held in a non-threatening, non-military environment, to provide Soldiers and families a chance to share experiences and talk frankly with each other and counselors about their experiences.
More than 2,500 members of the New York Army National Guard have participated in Yellow Ribbon Re-Integration events since 2008 following the return of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.