Sunday, January 14, 2001

Orange ribbon campaign began here

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Who could have known the power of a piece of orange ribbon?

        Looped and pinned to the lapel or elaborately tied around a tree or mail box, the brightly colored bit of fabric became a symbol of support for allied military forces during the Persian Gulf War 10 years ago this month.

Ellen Lambing
Ellen Lambing
        The brainchild of Delhi Township resident Ellen Lambing, Operation Orange Ribbon united the nation and boosted the morale of thousands of U.S. soldiers who risked their lives to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi invaders.

        She didn't live to see the 10-year anniversary of the start of the war. Mrs. Lambing died of ovarian cancer in August. But her legacy lives on.

        A decade later, those who knew her still meet for monthly dinners and reminisce about the woman who thought more of others than herself.

        “She taught us compassion, how to talk to others and how to get people through their problems,” said Tom Stone of Blue Ash, who served on the group's board of directors.

        Mrs. Lambing started the campaign in 1990 shortly after her son, Tim Young, a Navy seaman stationed on the USS Eisenhower, was ordered to the Red Sea, off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Besides the ribbons, the project provided support — both financial and emotional — for families left behind by those deployed to the gulf.

        “There were times where the phone would not stop ringing,” said Frank Lambing, Mrs. Lambing's husband.

        With a chuckle, he added, “I had to go to the gas station to use the phone.”

        At least 400 families across the Tristate were helped by Operation Orange Ribbon.

        In 1991, her efforts were recognized in Washington, D.C., where then-U.S. Rep. Charlie Luken, D-Cincinnati, read a congressional statement of honor on the House floor lauding her work.

Gulf War, 10 years later
Local vets remember a time of pride and worry
- Orange ribbon campaign began here

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