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Yellow Ribbon Program aids Airmen

  • Published
  • By 403rd Wing Public Affairs
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

Deployments are hard on both the Reserve Citizen Airmen and their families, but with the help of the Yellow Ribbon program, our Airmen and their families are given the resources to help make a difference in how they cope.

The 403rd Wing Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program, part of a Department of Defense effort, is designed to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities. It also teaches Airmen and their families how to prepare for all phases of the deployment experience by providing them with knowledge that can make a long term difference in their lives.

“We provide informative, transformational events for Airmen, their families, and guests to address the broad spectrum of deployment needs,” said Tech. Sgt. Dishua Jeanjacques, 403rd Wing Yellow Ribbon program manager. 

Yellow Ribbon events are held away from home station to encourage participation because using a travel destination aspect brings the Reserve Citizen Airmen and their guests away from their everyday life so they can spend time together learning about the social, mental, physical and spiritual pillars of resiliency according to Jeanjacques.

Most travel and accommodations to attend Yellow Ribbon events are covered by the program so they can attend without the high out-of-pocket costs.

Lt. Col. Jeff Ragusa, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron chief pilot, and his wife have attended Yellow Ribbon events in Orlando, Florida and Denver, Colorado. He said offsetting travel and hotel costs is a very helpful incentive to attend program events.

“It would be impossible to place a value on the Yellow Ribbon program. It is quite literally invaluable. It is a small cost to help maintain the overall health of our members and their families,” said Ragusa. “Making it easy and inexpensive probably gets the spouses to push for the trip. I think if left up to the member, participation would significantly decrease, so reducing the cost removes excuses too.”

Events include inspiring key-note speakers, informative referral materials, education options, and other resource providers. The program also features interactive breakout sessions with topics such as military benefits, marriage enrichment, and financial management.

Tech. Sgt. Sabine Severe, 403rd Force Support Squadron customer support chief, attended a Yellow Ribbon event in Denver, Colo. She said for her the most beneficial program events were the workshops that addressed money.

“It taught me how to remove things from our credit and start making better financial choices,” said Severe. “I was able to use some of the tools to pay off debts and raise my credit score.”

The 403rd Wing Yellow Ribbon program has valuable information for Airmen of all ranks. 

Col. Shannon Hailes, 618th Air Operations Center individual mobilization augmentee to the director of command and control, served 12 years in the 403rd Wing and had five deployments over his 28 year military career, but had never been to a Yellow Ribbon event.  

“My first three deployments were on active duty and the two deployments I had when I came into the Reserve were when the Yellow Ribbon program did not exist,” said Hailes.

During his time in the 403rd Wing Commander’s Action Group, Hailes attended his first Yellow Ribbon program in 2018 when he was tasked to represent the 403rd Wing at the event while Col. Jennie Johnson, 403rd Wing commander, was deployed to Southwest Asia. 

“The Air Force Reserve Yellow Ribbon program is an amazing thing,” said Hailes. “The families get to see how the Reserve takes care of the deployed members and their families while their loved ones are away.”

Jeanjacques said her Yellow Ribbon team wants to help Airmen and their families identify potential problems, in order to provide and refer them to helpful resources to combat these issues.

Severe credits the tools she gained in the Yellow Ribbon program with improving her financial credit.  

“After attending the Yellow Ribbon event, I walked out with so much information and gained confidence that I could recover from my past financial mistakes and start building wealth,” said Severe.

Deploying service members, dependents and designated guests can register to attend these events which are scheduled prior to and after deployments. For more information about upcoming 403rd Wing Yellow Ribbon program upcoming events, contact Tech. Sgt. Dishua Jeanjacques at 228 365-1400.