It’s difficult for many people to ask for help when they need it.

Studies have shown military veterans don’t seek assistance because of pride, fear and not knowing where to turn.

A group of Lakeville residents aim to change that.

The second annual Military Networking Event 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Lakeville Heritage Center, 20110 Holyoke Ave., plans to connect veterans and their families with a wide range of services in the community.

Organized by the Lakeville Yellow Ribbon, the event will have representatives in a variety of fields, such as health care, financial planning, emotional support, recreational and social connections.

Ellen Able, who is helping to organize the event, said about 15 veterans attended last year’s open house, and this year they hope that number is close to 100.

She said organizers have been promoting the event more heavily than in the past through veterans’ associations and other local groups.

She said the main reason organizers wanted to have the event was because so many veterans or current service members will not ask for help or they do not know where to go to get it.

“Lakeville Yellow Ribbon has been very successful due to the relationships we have in the community and our networking capabilities, and we want to make things as easy as possible for the military members to access any need they may have,” Able said.

She said the past and current military members who attended last year’s event said they loved it and it was a needed resource.

“They all said they would be back and gave us suggestions on other vendors or resources that they would like to see at the event,” Able said.

Able said the event, which will allow for plenty of one-on-one time between vendors and veterans, is the only one of its kind in Minnesota that she is aware of.

Among the vendors who will be at the event are the Lakeville VFW, Lakeville Yellow Ribbon, Lakeville American Legion, Minnesota Warriors Hockey, Majestic Hills Ranch, Defending the Blue Line, The Legacy Hero Hunt, United Hero’s League, Pain Free Patriots, First Minnesota Hooah, Suicide Prevention, Fishing For Vets, Women Veteran Initiative, Think Great, DEED, Trust Vets, Eagle Group of MN, Lifeworks.org, Dakota County Veteran Service Office, VA Death Benefits, MAC-V Legal Clinic, VAMC, Shakopee Clinic, Family Assistance Center, and Ship Thrifty.

There will also be representatives in the areas of real estate, mortgage, finance, insurance, and banking along with the Lakeville Chamber of Commerce.

Able said organizers are looking for volunteers to help when visitors to the event arrive.

She said they are also looking for volunteers for future events, such as the Tee It Up for Troops on Sept. 9, Military Appreciation Dinner on Nov. 8, and the Children’s Christmas Party on Dec. 14.

Lakeville Yellow Ribbon also organized monthly events such as serving meals at Fischer House veterans home, a veterans only lunch at 12:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month, and its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. the second Thursday of the month. Both of those are held at the Heritage Center.

More information or to RSVP to the Military Networking Event, call 952-985-4685 or visit the website www.lakevilleyellowribbon.com.

Tad Johnson can be reached at tad.johnson@ecm-inc.com.

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