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News: New film features Minnesota Guard

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Premiere showing of 'Bridging War and Hope' Christen Reyenga

Col. Eric Alhness, Commander of the Minnesota National Guard Argibusiness Development Team presents a token of appreciation to Gil Mann, past President of Beth El Synagogue, after premiere showing of Twin Cities Public Television Documentary "Bridging War and Hope" at the Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, Minn. on Oct. 20.

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Recently, Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, Minn. held a premier showing of ‘Bridging War and Hope,’ a Twin Cities Public Television documentary. This documentary was a fitting tribute to the men and women of the Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) who recently returned from a year-long deployment to southeastern Afghanistan.

The documentary was created and produced by Luke Heikkila, an employee of Twin Cities Public Television. He is not new to the demands and austere conditions of following troops around the middle-east during deployments. He has also embedded with the Minnesota National Guard during the 34th Infantry Division year-long deployment to Basra, Iraq in 2009.

He embedded with this Minnesota National Guard unit for two weeks during their deployment to remote areas of the country following around key personnel of each of the groups at the Forward Operating Bases.

The unit was adopted by the synagogue early on in their deployment and supported them with notes of encouragement and sent requested items from the Soldiers.

The night included a reception starting with refreshments and time for Soldiers who were members of the unit to interact with the crowd. After the premier showing panel members, which included Heikkila and soldiers who were a part of the deployed unit, were able to take a few questions from people in the audience.

The documentary does not take the typical look into the patrol featuring the bullets and bombs that make up much of the combat of Afghanistan, but rather the unique mission of this small group of soldiers. Advancement of the Afghanistan’s agricultural development was a priority for the soldiers of the ADT. Showing the people of the region options for growing and taking care of their crops was a group effort in more than four different locations for these Minnesotans.

As the documentary portrayed, every soldier had their struggles, but enjoyed their very unique position and the mission in theater.

“When I was first called for this mission, I thought there was a mistake, I never had step foot on a farm in my life,” said 1st Lt. Tara Robertson, team member of the ADT in Zabul. “I soon realized it wasn’t as much about having the knowledge of agriculture, but being a people person … this was a unique mission and I believe it is one of the most unique experiences of my life.

To find listings of show times, visit Twin Cities Public Television Website. To find more information and photos of the ADT team, visit

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This work, New film features Minnesota Guard, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:10.20.2012

Date Posted:10.24.2012 14:00

Location:ST. LOUIS PARK, MN, USGlobe

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