Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Minnesota Patriot Guard continues to be busy as we answer the call of families to pay honor, dignity and respect to those who have served and those who are serving. Thank you to each of you who makes this happen!

The Patriot Ride was a great success again this year. Over 2,000 came together to make it a memorable day. Yes, we got poured on again - same place as last year leaving the half way stop, and we know with the storms rolling across MN, some of you were not able to make it. But it was a great day of remembrance and rejuvenation. Kudo's to the Patriot Ride committee, all the volunteers, and to Dennis Kirk - they put in countless hours making sure everything falls in place!

Summer is now upon us. Some things to remember regarding heat, heat indexes and our members. In a state close to ours over the past weekend, 9 flagline members fell out because of heat - this can not happen!! Our leaders and members are precious, and I can't even imagine how a family we are standing alongside would feel if members were not taking care of themselves or put themselves at risk to be on the flagline. We are told to be self-sufficient at missions with food and drinks, but it extends further than that - we need to know when we individually need to step into the shade or a cool space.

There are several things you can do to help:
- review the "Avoid Health Illness Tips" in the member documents area at the state website. This is a quick overview of what to look for and what to do.
- come to missions hydrated and continue to keep yourself hydrated. Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids that hydrate.
- watch out for yourself and each other at missions. If the person standing next to you needs to take a break, take their flag and tell them to go cool down. Keep in mind that if you are riding to a mission, some of your hydration will already be depleted before you even get on the flagline.
- if the RCIC asks you to seek shade or a cool space, don't argue and say you are fine. I've been "yes mom'd" more than once for telling people to come off the flagline to cool off. And that's OK - I'd rather that than have a member ill or worse. It would of course be preferrable if members identify themselves that they need to cool off, but our leaders will ask/demand if necessary.
- our vests - while they identify who we are - they are a heat/sun magnet! If they need to come off to allow for air circulation and cooling - do it! The flagline shows who we are and why we are there.

Be safe out there! Be smart, take care of yourself and each other!