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Honoring America’s Military Veterans • 2020

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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020



he month of November is a special time for the nation’s veterans. While Memorial Day honors fallen soldiers and service members, Veteran’s Day, which takes place each November, is an opportunity to commemorate the efforts of all who have been in the armed forces, with a special emphasis on living veterans. While people are encouraged to thank veterans throughout the year, Veteran’s Day is a particularly poignant time to show your appreciation for the men and women of the military. Veteran’s Day takes place on Nov. 11 and marks an important moment in history. On Nov. 11, 1918, World War I, known at the time as “The Great War,” unofficially ended when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, took place between Germany and the Allied nations on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. World War I ended on paper when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Armistice Day became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. However, after subsequent wars, including World War II and the Korean War, veterans’ service organizations

lobbied for Armistice Day to be revised so it would be more inclusive of all veterans. On June 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation to strike the word “Armistice” from the holiday’s name in favor of “Veterans.” Since then, Nov. 11 has been known as “Veteran’s Day” and has honored veterans of all wars. Veteran’s Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October for roughly seven years under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which sought to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating certain national holidays on Mondays. But since Nov. 11 bore such significance, many states disapproved and continued to observe the holiday on Nov. 11. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed legislation to return the observation of Veteran’s Day to Nov. 11 beginning in 1978. Should the day fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the federal government observes the holiday on the previous Friday or following Monday, respectively, according to History.com. The United States isn’t the only country to celebrate its veterans. Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and France also commemorate the veterans of World War I and II on or near Nov. 11 as Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday.

How Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day differ from each other


emorial Day and Veteran’s Day each honor the military, though the two holidays are not the same. Memorial Day, which is celebrated annually on the last Monday in May, honors the brave men and women who lost their lives while serving in the American military. Many communities host memorial ceremonies honoring their fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, ensuring such soldiers’ bravery and sacrifices are never forgotten. While many people now view Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, the weekend should not be celebrated without also pausing to reflect on and recognize the military personnel who lost their lives in defense of freedom and the American way of life.

Veteran’s Day is celebrated annually on Nov. 11 and recognizes all men and women who have served in the military. Veteran’s Day coincides with Remembrance Day, which is a celebrated by the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of 53 member states with connections to the British Empire. Though Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day are each celebrated on Nov. 11, the latter recognizes armed forces members who died in the line of duty, making it more similar to Memorial Day than Veteran’s Day. It’s not uncommon for people to recognize fallen services members on Veteran’s Day, but many use the holiday to express their appreciation to existing veterans.

Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

VSOs help vets research, access full spectrum of benefits By Wendy Pitlick because applying for benefits often means Black Hills Pioneer providing personal, medical and financial NORTHERN HILLS — When Jesse information. Ketzer was a medic in the Army from 2005 “A lot of guys in Vietnam in particular, to 2016, the confidence he shared with his they don’t want anything to do with the fellow soldiers needed to be earned. VA because they weren’t treated very well Not much about that has changed with when they got out,” he said. “Now, decades his current post as the Lawrence County later, they are coming in with Agent Orange Veterans Services Officer. Today, he joins related issues. I help them file for help and veterans services officers (VSO) across the they get a good amount of compensation. Northern Hills, who earn the trust of vetIt changes their life overnight because erans as they help them access the benefits now they don’t have to worry about how that will improve they’re going to pay their quality of life. their bills, or where Benefits such as they’re going to get MEADE healthcare, disabiltheir medications or COUNTY VSO ity compensation, healthcare from. When Doug Huntrods pension services, they get compensation, 605-347-7623 and VA housing they are automatically 1300 Sherman St., loans can often eligible for healthcare Ste 212 make the differat Fort Meade. It’s life Sturgis ence between life changing for a lot of or death for many veterans.” veterans and their Doug Huntrods, vetdependents. erans services officer LAWRENCE “To be a medic, I in Meade County, said COUNTY VSO had to earn the trust being able to build a Jesse Ketzer of the soldiers I was rapport with veterans in 605-578-9748 assigned to,” Ketzer order to dig into their 80 Sherman St., said. “People really lives, while researchDeadwood trusted me with ing and maintaining a their life. A lot of wealth of knowledge BUTTE COUNTY VSO the stuff I do now about benefits available Bob Wagner is relevant to that. to veterans, is what 605-210-0173 I look through the makes a good VSO. 830 6th Ave., Belle Fourche medical records Huntrods’ database of constantly, which 1,800 veterans. has helped tremendously. A lot of vets don’t “I have a hard time turning a veteran understand the medical terminology. They away,” said the 22-year Army vet who redon’t understand the physiology or anatomy tired as a sergeant major. of their conditions. So when I dig through Many times, Huntrods said being a dedit I end up helping them file for additional icated VSO means helping veterans prove things that they didn’t even know they qualtheir service to access certain benefits — ified for. particularly Agent Orange claims related to Ketzer said the majority of his work deals Vietnam service. with veteran’s compensation for physical “Some people who were in Vietnam, issues that were either caused, or exacerbatit’s not documented they were there,” he ed, due to military service. In order to really said. “For instance, I have a veteran who help a vet, the VSO has to gain their trust the plane he flew was not allowed to stay

overnight in Vietnam. They actually spent less than a few hours on the ground. So, he never had orders sending him to Vietnam. It was actually a secret that plane flew in and out. As a result, we’re trying to prove this guy served in Vietnam. We’ve got buddy statements, we’ve taken clips out of books, statements that he wrote, old logs, flight logs for those types of aircraft, and photographs, trying to prove he set foot in Vietnam because he’s got two or three different cancers that are very common from Agent Orange.” Huntrods agreed that the most common services he provides is helping veterans apply for compensation benefits. “If you have a service connected disability, you get (compensation) whether you like it or not,” he said, adding that many vets don’t want compensation. “But a compensable rating automatically qualifies you for full VA healthcare. If you’re connected for ringing in the ears and you need heart surgery, you have almost no expense. You’re almost completely covered for medical. That’s huge.” Huntrods said he and other members of the Veterans Services Officer Association are working with the state of South Dakota to establish a repository, where researched information about veterans and veterans’ benefits can be held and more easily accessed. In addition to researching compensation claims for various service-related issues, veterans services officers can help vets and their families access the GI Bill, VA home loans and housing assistance, pension services, funeral benefits, and more. “That’s a huge thing,” he said. “Those veterans are paying their property taxes. I personally am a disabled veteran and I would not be living in the house I live in if I didn’t receive that payment. A lot of veterans move here because of this VA hospital. We are able to get them service connected, and they are able to afford the home they live in, or keep living in their home as their income drops with retirement. That is a lot of money coming in with property taxes.”

Eligibility requirements for VA healthcare


eterans do not automatically qualify to receive healthcare at a VA hospital. Eligibility for healthcare at the VA is based on a number of different factors, is largely based on whether a veteran served on active duty status, whether a medical condition is service connected, and a veteran’s income level. The following is a list of qualifications for veterans to receive free or reduced healthcare at the VA. • Veterans who have served active duty in the armed forces are eligible to receive healthcare at the VA, but services are based on income unless there is a service-connected disability. If a vet’s income qualifies for services at the VA, those healthcare and prescription costs could still be applied at significantly reduced rates as compared to civilian care. • Veterans who have served in the National Guard must have at least some period of federal active duty before they are eligible for benefits at the VA. Meade County Veterans Services Officer Doug Huntrods said National Guardsmen are eligible for VA benefits and free healthcare for five years after their federal deployment. After that, their services become income based unless necessary care is related to a service-connected disability. • Disabled veterans can receive free healthcare from the VA that is related to their service-connected disability. Additionally, if a veteran’s disability is considered 50% or more connected to their service, they are eligible for free, lifelong healthcare at the VA for all conditions. • Vietnam veterans who can prove that they served at least one day “boots on ground” are automatically covered for healthcare the VA.


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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Distinguished medals

our beloved serviceman or servicewoman is likely humble about the medals they were awarded during their careers. When you’re sitting around the table this holiday season, be sure you’re up to speed on the various military medals and what they represent. You can make a big difference during the holidays by showing that you appreciate and understand the sacrifices your favorite veterans have made in their careers. One way to do so is learning more about medals, including the Medal of Honor and The Purple Heart. Here are some of the most impressive medals a military member can receive and what it means to earn one, as reported by the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau.

The Purple Heart

The Purple Heart medal is typically given to soldiers who were wounded in combat. Eligible service men and women have served in the military on or after April 5, 1917 when the United States joined the Allied forces in World War I. It is also common for families of fallen troops to receive the award on behalf of their soldier’s ultimate sacrifice.

Distinguished Service Cross

Introduced on Jan. 2, 1918, the Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to soldiers who engaged in conflict with forces that threaten the United

States. Here are three of the most common. Navy Cross: Most likely awarded to servicemen and servicewomen who were present during the Pearl Harbor attack. Congress created the medal on Feb. 4, 1918. Air Force Cross: Established on July 6, 1960, has been awarded to more than 190 Air Force members for their distinct service.

Silver Star

The third-highest honor awarded to military members recognizes a soldier’s level of bravery. It was introduced in 1932 and used to replace the Citation Star which was created by Congress in 1918.

Medal of Honor

Take a virtual tour of military museums and war memorials


his Veteran’s Day, take a “virtual tour” of some of America’s excellent military museums. Our nation’s war memorials, too, have arranged for virtual visits. The virtual tours offered by these fine websites offer excellent opportunities for learning, or for refreshing memories. The memorials’ and museums’ websites follow.


World War II Memorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-L0cdQLPnY National D-Day Memorial https://www.dday.org/ Korean War Memorial https://www.defense.gov/Experience/ Korean-War-Memorial/ Vietnam Veterans Memorial https://www.vvmf.org/Virtual-Tour/

Regarded as the highest military decoration to be awarded by our government, the Medal of Honor is presented by the president of the United States and recognizes a service member’s gallantry and intrepidity for their risk of life while engaging an enemy force. The first medal was introduced in 1861 as an award for the United States Navy. The Army followed with their own reward the following year, and the Air Force Medal of Honor was adopted in 1965. There are three distinct versions of the award used to represent the different branches of military — one for the Army, another for the Air Force, and one shared by the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.

THE MILITARY BRANCHES National Museum of the U. S. Army https://www.thenmusa.org/

National Museum of the U.S. Navy https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/museums/ nmusn/explore/exhibits.html U.S. Air Force National Museum https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Virtual-Tour/ National Museum of theMarine Corps https://www.usmcmuseum.com/exhibits.html National Naval Aviation Museum http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/nnam/virtualtour/ U.S. Army Aviation Museum https://history.army.mil/museums/TRADOC/fortRuck er_aviation/index.html#Visit


American Battlefield Trust https://www.battlefields.org/visit/virtual-tours

Thank you for your service

American Revolution Museum https://museumvirtualtour.org/

To all the Veterans out there, we salute you. Thanks TR! 1418 Ziebach St., Belle Fourche, SD 605-892-2904


National Civil War Museum www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org/ National World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial https://www.theworldwar.org/explore/ exhibitions/online-exhibitions National World War II Museum https://www.nationalww2museum.org/visit/exhibits Sponsored by The Northern Black Hills Rotary Club with appreciation to the Military Officers Association of America

We are

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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Piedmont veteran wants to pay-itforward By Deb Holland Black Hills Pioneer PIEDMONT — Mike Mullen believes it is his duty to pay-it-forward concerning military veterans. Mullen, a U.S. Army veteran, joined the Army on his 18th birthday at Sturgis in 1967 in the midst of the Vietnam War. “I was going no place in Sturgis, and I figured it was a job at the time. I just decided to do it,” he said. Just two years earlier, President Lyndon Johnson had called for more ground troops to be sent to Vietnam, increasing the draft to 35,000 each month. By 1967, U.S. troop numbers stationed in Vietnam had increased to half a million. From Sturgis, Mullen and a friend, Ed Roberts, who had joined along with him, went to Sioux Falls for their military induction ceremony. They were flown from there to Denver and then off to Fort Lewis, Wash., for basic training. Mullen went on to Advanced Individual Training at Fort Ord, Calif., to become a supply specialist. After 30 days back home, he set off to his duty station in Germany. “The way they did it was to label us 1, 2, and 3. Ones went to Vietnam, twos went to Germany and threes stayed stateside. I ended up going to Germany for about 14 months,” he said. At that time, Mullen’s supply unit distributed aircraft parts for helicopters. Then, in 1969, Mullen returned home for Christmas. Upon returning to his base in Germany he got called up to his first sergeant’s office.



Mike Mullen

Mike Mullen of Piedmont served as Veterans of Foreign Wars state commander in 2015-2016. During his service, the National VFW Commander-in-Chief John Biedrzycki visited the Black Hills National Cemetery for a ceremony honoring Vietnam veterans. File photo

During that time, he rose in the ranks to “He said to leave my stuff packed bebecome a battalion supply sergeant. They cause I was going on another vacation. I supplied everything from uniforms to said, ‘Great. Where am I going?’ There bedding to rifles and ammuwere 35 of us headed to nition, he said. Vietnam,” Mullen said. What does Mullen reMullen’s response: “Oh, member most about his time crap! It wasn’t that, but in so in Vietnam? many words.” “I try not to remember Mullen, 19 at the time, a lot of the bad things. We said he and his fellow solhad a lot of good times. I diers knew exactly what was remember the good people I going on in Vietnam. served with,” he said. They flew from Germany He met up with one of to Hawaii where Mullen his fellow soldiers years recalls seeing MPs stationed later while working at Fort at the gates so that no one Meade VA Medical Center, could leave the base. Then and another while in Sioux they were flow to Guam A young Mike Mullen Falls. before ultimately landing in Da Since his active military life, Mullen, Nang in Vietnam. now 71, has been involved in several “From there we got on a C-130 and flew veterans’ organizations including the to Bien Hoa and his duty station,” he said.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. He served as the state commander of VFW in 2015-2016. “I wanted to help veterans. I still help them whenever I can. I just don’t want to see them messed over,” Mullen said. Veterans deserve the benefits promised to them, he said. “They have earned that,” said Mullen who worked for the VA for 31 years. Mullen also hopes that the next generation of veterans will join veteran organizations to see that veterans of the future are treated fairly and with respect. “I have gotten everything promised to me because of the efforts of World War II and Korean veterans that helped establish these programs. I’m paying it forward. I’m trying to pass that knowledge along. I feel it is my duty,” he said.

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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

American Legion works to support all veterans, soldiers, and their families By Wendy Pitlick Black Hills Pioneer NORTHERN HILLS — Almost immediately after World War I veterans established the American Legion in 1919, and posts began to pop up throughout the country — including charters throughout the Northern Black Hills that were established the same year. Since then, then the American Legion has been an extremely influential force for veterans across the country — establishing the VA healthcare system and the GI Bill, and providing camaraderie across the country for all veterans and their families. Formed under the four pillars of Americanism, national security, children and youth and veterans affairs, local American Legion posts remain active throughout the area, ensuring that patriotism remains strong in our communities. The American Legion family also includes three groups to serve and honor veterans and their families. The Auxiliary serves veterans’ relatives, the Sons of the American Legion serves sons of veterans, and the American Legion Riders are a group primarily comprised of motorcyclists, who honors fallen veterans by providing flag escorts to their final resting place. The American Legion is the largest veterans organization in the world, with more than 14,000 posts. In South Dakota alone, Department Commander for the S.D. American Legion Fred Nelson said there are 243 posts, and 197 auxiliary units. The organization serves to support veterans and their families, as well as to preserve the rights of veterans by fighting for legislation such as that which protects the American flag and veteran benefits. “The camaraderie is everything because

you’re associating with men and women who have been in your shoes,” said Brian Hambek, commander of the American Legion Post 164 in Spearfish. Locally, the Belle Fourche, Sturgis, LeadDeadwood and Spearfish American Legion and Auxiliary are responsible for a variety of programs, including sponsoring Boys and Girls State, a program that has high school youth traveling to state universities to stay for a week and learn about how government works. Students who participate in the program are immediately eligible for related scholarships. The American Legion Oratorical Contest is also an opportunity for the organization to support youth with scholarships. The contest presents a patriotic topic and invites high school students to prepare a speech that is presented at the local, state and national level — offering up to $30,000 in scholarship money for competition winners. The Youth Trooper Academy, also an American Legion program, invites students to attend training camps similar to that of the S.D. Highway Patrol. The program offers youth who are interested in law enforcement insight into what it is like to serve as a highway patrol trooper. In addition to high school programs, members of the Legion family present veterans programs in the schools about flag etiquette and veteran appreciation. “We go into the schools every year and do a flag etiquette program,” Hambek said. “We replace the flag at West Elementary

every year and do a program with them. We hand out flags for each one of them and then they come outside as we raise the new flag and do the pledge of allegiance. A few years ago they actually learned the national anthem in sign language and performed it for us. It was awesome.” In addition to youth activities, members of the American Legion family are also responsible for supporting veterans at Fort Meade, and soldiers who are currently serving on active duty status. In Lead-Deadwood, the post takes Christmas presents to Fort Meade every year, so the residents can choose gifts for their families. Other posts around the area also bring Christmas gifts for residents at the Veterans’ Home, but Glorianne Davis, deputy commander of the Lead post, said the residents really appreciate being able to give something to their loved ones. “It gives them a sense of self worth to be able to give something instead of take something,” she said. “That is a real big program at Christmas time. They do thousands of presents.” A buddy check system that is a natural progression of the camaraderie felt within the ranks of the American Legion is also prevalent among members, Davis said. “We have a lot of members who don’t come to meetings,” she said. “They’re either out of town or they’re very old. So, it’s just reaching out to them to make sure they’re OK, trying to keep suicide down.”

In addition to serving veterans, local American Legion Posts also work hard to support soldiers who are actively serving, and their families. When a soldier signs up to serve this country, all family members make a variety of sacrifices in time, as they move from place to place on a regular basis and spend long hours away from each other. The American Legion recognizes that, and works to recognize Gold and Blue Star families, send care packages to deployed soldiers overseas, and organize fun activities for children. “(The American Legion) offers resources to kids of veterans as well, because it’s difficult, especially when you’re living near an active base,” Hambek said. “Dad or mom gets transferred every two to four years, so they have to meet new friends. So we offer resources to those kids.” Honoring veterans and their families with support continues to a soldier’s dying day, Hambek said, as the American Legion Riders serve families who are grieving the loss of a veteran. “For the riders, one of our missions is to honor the veterans on their final ride,” he said. “We do the honor flag line and the escorts to the cemetery. Once it gets cold, the bikes go away. But we’ll stay on the flag line. We call it their final salute and it’s a way for us to honor them.” Overall, members of the American Legion in Post 31 (Lead), Post 32 (Belle Fourche), Post 33 (Sturgis), and Post 164 (Spearfish) invite all veterans who have served at least one day in the U.S. military, or families of veterans, to join the camaraderie that can only come from those who serve in uniform.

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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Veterans of Foreign Wars fighting for veterans


he Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. The organization traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the SpanishAmerican War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service. Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves. In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations that would eventually band together and become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. Today, membership stands at more than 1.5 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary. The VFW voice was instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, development of the national cemetery system, in the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, we won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America’s active duty service members, and members of the guard and reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were the driving force behind the Veterans Access and Accountability Act of 2014, and continually fight for improved VA medical centers services for women veterans. Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and

Women in Military Service memorials, in 2005 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010. And in 2015, we became the first supporter of the National Desert Storm War Memorial which is planned for construction at our nation’s capital. The VFW has many programs and services that work to support veterans, service members and their families, as well as communities worldwide. There are three qualifiers for membership in the VFW, as set out in our by-laws. An individual must meet all three in order to become a member. They are as follows: • Citizenship – must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. National. • Honorable Service – must have served in the Armed Forces of the United States and either received a discharge of Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) or be currently serving. • Service in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters. This can be proven by any of the following: An authorized campaign medal. Receipt of hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay — verified by a military pay statement. Service in Korea for 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days. This information is usually available through a veteran’s DD-214. If other information is needed or if a veteran’s DD-214 is not complete, they can contact the National Personnel Records Center online or at (314) 801-0800 to request more information.

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Formed in 1919 group is largest veterans organization in the world Eligibility Requirements All veterans who have served for at least one day in the United States military from 1941 to the present, are eligible for membership in the American Legion. Department Commander, S.D. American Legion.........................................................Fred Nelson Contact.......................................................................................................... Fred.Nelson@live.com

Spearfish Post 164

Commander.................................................................................................................Brian Hambek Contact.......................................................................................................... Fred.Nelson@live.com Meetings held the first Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. at the Spearfish VFW, 3102 E. Fairgrounds Loop, Spearfish

Lead-Deadwood Post 31

Post Commander....................................................................................................Osborne Enderby Contact..........................................................................................................ozenderby@gmail.com Meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. at the Twin Cities Area Senior Citizen’s Center, 609 W. Main St., Lead

Belle Fourche Post 32

Post Commander..........................................................................................................Bill Monahan Contact.................................................................................................Mike Reade, (605) 892-5599 Meetings held first Tuesday of the month, 6 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 806 6th Ave., Belle Fourche

Sturgis Post 33

Post Commander.............................................................................................................Jerry Lolley Contact...........................................arrowqtr.circle@yahoo.com, (605) 206-0269 (leave message) Meetings held second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m. at the Veterans Club, 868 Main St., Sturgis

VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS — VFW Eligibility Requirements Veterans must have served in the U.S. military in conflict on foreign soil

Spearfish VFW Post 5860

Post Commander...........................................................................................................Eric Kinslow Contact..........................................................................vfwpost5860@gmail.com, (605) 642-3266 Meetings held second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m. at the Spearfish VFW, 3102 E. Fairground Loop, Spearfish

Sturgis VFW Post 33

Post Commander.............................................................................................................Jerry Lolley Contact.......................................................................................................................(605) 347-4682 Meetings held first Thursday of the month, 7 p.m. at the Sturgis Veterans Club, 868 Main St., Sturgis

Belle Fourche VFW Post 3312

Post Commander.......................................................................................................... Nathan Juelfs Contact.......................................................................................................................(605) 641-0849 Meetings second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m. at the Belle Fourche Senior Center, 828 Kingsbury St., Belle Fourche

Lead-Deadwood VFW Post 5969

Post Commander ............................................................................................................. John Datka Post Quartermaster ......................................................................................................... Kris Senton Contact.......................................................................................................................(605) 722-9914 Meetings held first Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m. at the Deadwood VFW, 10 Pine St., Deadwood

HONORING ALL WHO SERVED This Veteran’s Day, we honor our Veterans and the sacrifices they made in serving our country to secure our freedoms


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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

3 unique ways to give back to service members

ilitary service in the United States was once more common than it is today. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the draft for military service was ended in 1973, a point in time when 2.2 million men and women made up the country’s active military personnel. By 2018, the number had dipped below 1.3 million. Military service in Canada is also somewhat uncommon, as the Department of National Defence reports that active military personnel totaled just 68,000 as of 2018. The vast majority of people in countries where military service is not compulsory will never serve in the military. But that does not mean non-military personnel do not appreciate the sacrifices service members and their families make. In fact, a recent report conducted for Canada’s Department of National Defence found that while many Canadians seem only vaguely aware of what their military does, appreciation for service members was high. Service members and their families make many sacrifices to protect the lives and freedoms of their fellow citizens. The following are three unique ways to give back to these selfless men and women, who often benefit greatly from even the simplest of gestures.

nary adults can ensure injured servicemen and -women can still see their families during difficult times in their lives. Access to such support systems can be a big help as veterans work to recover from their injuries.

3. Sponsor a service dog.

A significant percentage of veterans return home with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD has been linked to a host of conditions, including depression and anxiety. However, programs such as Companions for

Heroes, an organization that places service dogs with veterans, has helped many veterans successfully cope with PTSD. By sponsoring a service dog through an organization such as Companions for Heroes, adults who want to help service members can provide an invaluable service to men and women fighting to regain their quality of life. There are many ways for ordinary citizens to show their support for the brave men and women who selflessly serve in the military.

1. Serve as a driver for veterans.

Unfortunately, many service members return from overseas missions with disabilities, some of which prevent them from driving. Adults who want to help service members can serve as drivers for veterans who can’t drive themselves. Such a gesture ensures they won’t miss any appointments with doctors or physical therapists, helping them get on the road to recovery that much quicker.

2. Donate your airline miles.

Some disabled veterans receive medical treatments far away from home at facilities that specialize in treating certain types of injuries, which can make it difficult for their families to be there for them during their recoveries. By donating airline miles to military families, ordi-

Thank You To Our Veterans On this Veterans Day, we are thinking of those who have served our country and who continue to do so every day. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Pg 9

Enderby finds silver lining from rejection By Wendy Pitlick Black Hills Pioneer LEAD — In 1965, Osborne Enderby received a letter from the South Dakota School of Mines, telling him not to come back for his second year of school. The Marine Corps regarded his first year of engineering school as an asset, and welcomed him with open arms. “Fortunately the fact that I had one year of college was very advantageous at the time, because most of the time if you enlisted in the Marine Corps, or if you were drafted, you automatically became a grunt, which meant you were going to be on the front lines,” he said. Instead, when Enderby enlisted with the Marines they immediately sent him to engineering school and he became a combat engineer in Vietnam. In this capacity he served in a support function, providing refrigeration for food, air conditioning for officers, water purification, and power generation. For Enderby, his experience in the Vietnam War is still very emotional. His voice shook a little as he fought tears that came when he recounted the experience.



Osborne Enderby


“The whole experience for me was an extremely life-changing event,” he said. “It’s a little difficult. It really opened your eyes. We found out later in life that what we were doing then, we didn’t need to be there. But we were there. We were doing what we thought our country needed us to do. When we returned and I came back to California, I was stationed in California my last year, and we weren’t very well respected.” After that last year was over, Enderby said he returned to his home in South Dakota in 1968 where he was treated much better. “But it was still a very difficult time for anybody who had been through that,” he said. “It gave my life a lot of focus. I think it really set me straight on what I should be doing in life.” Enderby learned a great deal from the experience, he said, and he used those lessons to build a successful engineering business in California, where he and his wife, Cathy, happily raised their family. In 2005, Enderby left California again, under significantly better circumstances, to retire in his home state. He now leads the local American Legion post, and has helped it

nearly double in membership. “What I learned in the Marine Corps, I parlayed that into my career, being the engineer that I was,” he said. “It really gave me direction.”

Osborne Enderby sits at a water point during Vietnam. A water point was a water purification station set up to provide potable drinking water for Marines. Courtesy photo

Connect with a deployed loved one

hile spending the holidays apart from 
a loved one who is serving their country can be difficult, there are ways to ease the strain for both parties. A virtual get-together may feel like a poor substitution for a holiday gathering, but families can gain a sense of normalcy as they await a reunion.

in picking the perfect tree through a video call. After you get your centerpiece home, you can maintain a connection while you hang your favorite ornaments, lights and of course, the tree topper. Providing a chance to be a part of a holiday tradition can be a wholesome experience for everyone involved.

Consider video chats

Sing carols

Decorate together

Gift exchange

Take advantage of video chats or phone calls is an innovative way to share the festive time of year together. Plan with your service member to ensure they have ample time for a call so you can enjoy their virtual companionship. And with today’s technological advances, there are more virtual meeting programs than ever before. Here are some things to do during a digital conversation.

If your family has a tradition of choosing a Christmas tree together, bring along a smart device to your favorite store or tree farm. Give your loved one an opportunity to participate

Maybe your family has a tradition of caroling around the holidays. With a fast-streaming video conference platform, you can invite your overseas loved one to participate in singing this season! Send them the lyrics to any new songs you are caroling this year so they can have them in front of them as they sing along across the airwaves with you and your family. Another common practice for families is the gift exchange. While you may not be able to ship the ideal present to your soldier, they have an opportunity to witness the joy from their

children, spouses and other family members as they unwrap their gifts. A fun game you can play prior to the exchange is coordinating a Secret Santa project. Everyone should randomly choose a person to make a purchase for.

Pg 10

Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Spearfish man serves as state commander of American Legion



Fred Nelson


By Wendy Pitlick Black Hills Pioneer SPEARFISH — While growing up, his bedroom was full of model airplanes. Fred Nelson was destined to either fly or fix planes. Nelson, who lives in Spearfish and currently serves as the state commander of the South Dakota American Legion, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1981 to 1992 reaching the rank of staff sergeant. He considers himself a Cold War veteran, but he also served during Grenada, Panama, and Desert Storm. He was first assigned to the Strategic Air Command and based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. He served as the crew chief on an EC-135 and RC-135 aircraft. While supporting the RC135 mission, his most memorable deploy-

Send updates from home

service member’s deployment can be lengthy, meaning that their town may become unrecognizable before they arrive home. Keep them updated with newspaper headlines regarding breaking news in the area and images of new businesses that have moved in. Photographs and stories about a familiar setting can help cure homesickness. It’s also a positive way to provide a perspective of what they can expect when they settle back into life at home. In addition to sending news regarding their hometown, consider buying their favorite non-perishable treats that are only available locally. Items like beef jerky, hot sauce and snack cakes will provide them with a taste of home. When shipping, make sure all containers are tight and items are far from their expiration dates as overseas mail can be lengthy.

Show them the lights

unit’s computer systems administrator and ment was to Khartoum, Sudan. The deployment was in response to Libya’s was responsible for network actions against the country of security. Nelson credits his time in the Chad. After six years of serving as Air Force with shaping the peran aircraft crew chief, Nelson son he is today. decided to share his knowledge “The years I spent troubleshooting aircraft systems and and experience by serving as an instructor, which included the years of teaching provided a transfer to the Air Training me with great skills and exCommand based at Ellsworth perience,” he said. “At times, Air Force Base. Nelson it was freezing cold or it was achieved his master instructor extremely hot on the flight line. rating and spent the next six But seeing my airplane break ground provided great job satyears teaching airmen the skills isfaction. The Air Force helped required to be a crew chief. Fred Nelson make me who I am today.” While serving as an instructor, USAF 1981 Nelson was assigned as his

During the holidays, many families gather

to travel their communities and catch spectacular light shows. For deployed soldiers, missing out on experiencing the event with their loved ones can be heartbreaking. For this year’s visit to see the lights, consider bringing a camera to capture the festivity on film. If you have children, make sure to catch their joyous expressions as they become absorbed in the experience. Ask them to say a special message for their deployed parent while they enjoy the holiday tradition.

Send news stories

As breaking news develops in your community, local journalists capture the events on paper. Think about compiling a variety of newspaper clippings if you plan to send a care package to your soldier. Events should include new business developments, neighborhood activism and other local stories. Avoid missing a remarkable story and support your regional newspaper by subscribing. This ensures that each edition is conveniently delivered to your home.

Send photos

Document a service member’s favorite outdoor places as the area transitions into the holidays. If they frequent a local hiking trail,

fishing spot or park, film yourself traveling the area and capturing the moment. Include yourself in the photo to give them a wholesome reminder of home.

THE SPEARFISH VETERAN’S MONUMENT IS STILL ONGOING! We currently have two of five walls up, and the third is ordered and will be installed sometime next year. We are always looking for more names to add. If you or a loved one lived in Spearfish (57783 zip code) for at least one year and served “Honorably” on “Active” duty in any branch of the armed forces, we want to add your name!

Visit spearfishveteransmonument.org for more information, to register a veteran, or to contribute.

11.11.20 | VETERAN’S DAY

With Honor, Respect & Gratitude Thank You. SpearfiSh foreSt productS | Spearfish, SD | (605) 642-7741

Saluting Our Veterans Pg 11

November 2020

Navy veteran reflects on how service changed her life



Glorianne Davis


By Wendy Pitlick Black Hills Pioneer LEAD — In the 28 years Glorianne Davis served in the Navy, she witnessed the military as an institution of leadership in the fight for equal rights. Her service taught her to see her fellow brothers in arms as equals, and to love people for who they are. “I never expected to stay in at all,” she said of her service as a hospital corpsman, the title given to enlisted medical personnel. The name comes from the fact that they provide medical support to the Marine Corps and often serve side by side with the Marines in combat. She reflected on her time when women were not as common in the military. “There weren’t as many women as there are now. You did what you had to do to get along. I was always kind of a rebel when I was in. Some of the rules seemed absurd to me. It’s all about discipline, and I understood that. I just saw the humor in it all,” Davis said. “The camaraderie is

something you can’t explain unless you had it. To be around people you might have known a week but you’d do anything for. Everyone has a mission and it’s all about completing that mission. So, even if you don’t like people, you’re all going to work together to get to the same place. That was what I liked about it the most.” “When I first went in there were a lot of race relation problems, and the military worked hard to educate people and teach them to respect each other and accept different cultures,” Davis added. “I saw big change in that. Good change.” Davis enlisted in the Navy in 1975, about five years after pay grades were made equal for both men and women, but before women were allowed to serve on ships. She was then commissioned as an officer in 1982, and she eventually retired as a commander in 2003. It was a failed romance that led Davis out of college and to the Navy recruiter in 1975. Shortly after joining the military, Davis said she was assigned to an intensive care unit at Oaknoll

Hospital, which served as the amputee center for Vietnam vets on the West Coast. “Vietnam was just over as I was joining, but the effects were there,” she said. “It was amazing, these young men. They were all Marines. To lose your legs when you’re 20 years old … they were incredible. The old nurses were always chasing them around because they’d have wheelchair races down the hills throughout the compound. It was amazing to see that.” As Davis advanced through the Navy ranks, she continued to enjoy the people she met. Watching how the military positively changed the lives around her, she said, is embedded in her as one of the greatest experiences of her life. “As I got older I liked the kids coming in and seeing the motivation of a lot of the kids who went into the military,” she said. “A lot of them were from lower middle class, under privileged and you’d get them in there and when you would give them the opportunity and some training they would just soar.”

Think poppies this holiday season

ooking for a unique gift idea this holiday season that can greatly impact veterans around the world? Introduced in 1921, the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program was adopted to recognize the sacrifices and service of military members. On Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, millions of red crepe paper poppies — all handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation — are distributed across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans, according to the American Legion Auxiliary. Typically, you can help their cause by purchasing a flower on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, but their significance should be commended year-round, including during the holiday season.

Call your local American Legion to see if there are ways you can help in planning and executing this special program. You can make a big difference in carrying on this long-standing tradition with your help during the holidays. Read on for more information on the Poppy Program and how big of an impact the American Legion is making on our veteran population.

Program basics

The movement of respecting the poppy is one of the American Legion Auxiliary’s most prolific programs. Each year, the organization distributes millions of handmade poppies throughout the country in exchange for donations to impact disabled and hospitalized veterans. Last year, the group estimates that $2.1

million was raised to directly assist those in need.

Program history

A memory soldiers brought home from World War I was the barren landscape of their battlefield being overtaken by wild poppies. The red fields soon gave military members a sense that their fallen comrades spirits would live on. “In Flanders Fields” is a wartime poem, penned by Lt. Col. John McCrae who was inspired by the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier. McCrae’s composition had such an impact on Moina Michael that she lead a campaign to adopt the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.

Poppy/ to learn how you can get involved in the program. Your financial and volunteer support is always needed when it comes to pulling off this unique, far-reaching program every year.

Get involved

Visit https://www.alaforveterans.org/

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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Donate to a military family


ome of the most honorable citizens in the country struggle financially to give their families the holiday celebration they deserve. You can say thanks and show support to their sacrifices by supporting a notable charity who distributes your donations responsibly to those in need. If you’re unsure how to go about finding an organization and the right way to donate, here are a few charities to consider.

whose wife handcrafted dolls to give to children in need. Hendricks was unable to find an agency to help distribute the toys, so they decided to start their own service. Today, the Marine Toys for Tots Program is attributed to distributing an average of over 18 million toys to seven million

less fortunate children annually. Donating to the cause is easy, as most businesses participate in collecting gifts over the holidays. If you can’t find a donation center in your area, urge local companies to take part in the giving tradition.

Duty Honor Country


Operation Help A Hero

This organization offers all-around support for serving military members, veterans and their families. A part of their mission is to connect with servicemen and servicewomen year-round. Around the holidays, Operation Christmas Spirit is their unique way to offer relief, gifts and support throughout the season. Their website makes it easy to do your part in supporting their cause and the military. Whether you make a financial donation or volunteer your time to operate a charity event or coordinate a gathering, the organization is always in need of volunteers.

Soldier’s Angels

This nonprofit group provides comfort to military members through numerous charities. Two of their holiday focused chapters include: Adopt-A-Family offers gifts for military children and provide parents with grocery store gift cards to create a delicious holiday meal. Holiday Community members coordinate the sending of cards, letters and stockings to service troops and veterans. According to the organization, donations have helped contribute to these impressive statistics. • More than 120,000 items provided to veterans at their VA Medical facilities in 2017. • 851,000 care packages sent to deployed service members over the last 15 years. • More than 22,000 veterans were provided with food assistance throughout the country in 2017.

Toys for Tots

Established in 1947, the Toys for Tots program was developed by Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Bill Hendricks,

To all those who have sacrificed...


Thank You Veterans!

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Saluting Our Veterans Pg 13

November 2020

Kain finds calling as tank commander



Mike Kain

Mike Kain, of Lead, retired as a colonel after 28 years of service. Courtesy photo

By Wendy Pitlick Black Hills Pioneer LEAD — He flew helicopters in Vietnam and drove tanks in Desert Storm, and Mike Kain said he’d do all of it over again for the camaraderie he had in the Army. Kain, who entered the military in 1968 as an infantryman, immediately went to flight school out of basic training because of his flight training while he was in college in ROTC. But flying helicopters was boring, and he soon found himself drawn to the tanks. Once he found that niche, he went all over the place with the military, including three tours in Germany where he was a battalion commander of a tank battalion. “Back then it was really interesting because that was still when the Cold War was going on,” he said. “So we would have alerts where we would roll out of our motor pools and head to our general defensive plan positions.” During one of his tours in Germany, Kain said he and his troops were completely surprised to get orders to deploy from Germany to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Storm. “We never thought we’d deploy out of Germany,” he said. “We figured we were always forward deployed. So that was an experience, trying to get a unit out of Germany to serve in Desert Storm. “If you can call any war good, that was probably the best war I was ever in because it only lasted four days,” he continued. “That is a different piece

WE THANK YOU for your service & sacrifice

of the world, and I’m just not a desert guy. You can get out there and let go of the steering wheel and your Jeep was just gonna run itself and you weren’t going to run into anything. It was just flat and sand.” After serving in the Army for 28 years, Kain retired as a colonel in 1996 and worked with Northrup Grummond as an Army contractor, serving as the program director for the battle command training program. During that time he worked with as many as 500 contractors supporting his war training program for the troops. “The battle command training program consisted of a simulation war fighting capability that the Army used to train brigade division and corps commanders,” he said. “We went all over the world with this thing because we could do it via satellite or we could do it land line. We would set up a site at a unit and they basically fought a war on a simulator. The headquarters would be out on the field and we would have a team inside a simulation center that was doing the fighting just like it would be in the real world. It was a pretty sophisticated training program.” Overall, Kain said the best part about his time in the military was the people he worked with and learning how to develop good relationships. “You had to treat everybody with respect,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s a private or if it’s a general officer, you treat everybody with respect and it will always come back to your benefit.”

THANK YOU for serving our


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Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Show your patriotism

xpress your patriotic feelings at home by displaying an American flag in your yard. This act of patriotism is an efficient way to show your support for the country and for the men and women who are sworn to protect it. Before investing in an Old Glory banner, you should know the rules and regulations about waving it properly. According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Flag Code was initiated on June 14, 1923. The bill is meant to protect the flag’s honor and ensure that citizens treat it with respect. Here are a few tips to help you correctly respect the banner while showing your support for the troops this holiday season.

Outdoor Display

The United States flag should be on display from sunrise to sunset on buildings or outdoor staffs. If you choose to keep the banner raised during the darkness, it should remain visible by illuminating it with high-quality lighting. When displaying Old Glory on a staff or stationary pole, ensure it is at the peak unless flags are ordered to be half-staff. If you decide to hang it against your home or another building, it should always be flat, with the blue field of stars facing north or east, depending on the direction of the street. Make certain that outdoor flags are considered all-weather. They are more durable during inclement conditions and are more resistant to facing tears or fading.

buildings were ordered to fly at half-staff in memory of those lost to COVID-19.

Retiring a Tattered Flag

When your flag begins deteriorating, it is necessary to destroy it respectfully. Under the Federal Flag Code, the ceremony involves: • It should be folded in the traditional method. • Ignite an intense fire capable of completely burning the banner. • People may salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and hold a brief period of silence as it burns. • Once consumed, the fire should be safely extinguished. Reach out to your local VFW to hold a prominent flag burning ceremony that involves your community.

• Keep a journal about their daily activities and send the notes to a deployed service member. • Call the local radio station and request patriotic theme songs in honor of our troops. • Talk to peers and teachers at school about organizing a military appreciation day. • Ask local businesses for donations that will be distributed to overseas service members. • Discuss developing a charity drive to collect goods from neighbors, friends and family.

On most days, the American flag should be proudly displayed at the peak of a pole. However, there are certain occasions when it is necessary to hoist it only to half-staff. • Memorial Day: The flag should be half-staff from sunrise until noon; and • By order: Elected officials can deem that half-staff is appropriate after the death of an official or during a national emergency. In May, flags on national monuments and federal

• Send a thank-you note to a deployed service member. • Form a community support team for local military families. • Encourage children of deployed service members to partake in activities or family outings.

We Salute Our Veterans

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t can be difficult for young children to accept why their mom or dad is away serving the country. Depending on the child’s age, they may not fully understand why their loved one is away from home or when they will be returning. There are still plenty of ways to show support, even for a young child. While you already teach them to be proud of the sacrifice from U.S. troops, you can also educate them with easy ways to show their support. Check out these tips from the National Guard Association of Texas so that kids can express their gratitude. • When you see a person in a military uniform, thank them for their service.

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• Volunteer time to military families by doing outdoor chores like mowing the lawn, pulling weeds or raking leaves. • Assist in planning a homecoming party in anticipation of a service member’s return. • Create a jokebook to share with service members. • Request special prayers for service members at a church service and share the message with the troops. Teaching children early about the importance of the American military can provide them with a lifelong lesson of compassion and support. Share your stories on social media or with reporters at your local newspaper. You never know who you may inspire.


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Saluting Our Veterans Pg 15

November 2020

Kosters says U.S. military made him the man he is today By Jaci Conrad Pearson Black Hills Pioneer DEADWOOD – Before Principal Tim Kosters braved the hallways and playground of Lead-Deadwood Elementary School, he served in quite a different capacity, battling it out on the Operation Desert Storm theater’s battlefield. “My military experience defined who I am today, even to this day,” Kosters said. “Everything that I did in the military taught me perseverance and the willingness to make sure that I do whatever it takes to do whatever I want to accomplish. That’s what the military taught me. So, it defines who I am today, to be honest with you. The military also taught me about the importance of being in service to others.” Originally from Selby, S.D., Kosters chose to join the Army, for one reason, his family had quite a few members of the military in it. “My grandfather was in the Navy. He was on the USS New Jersey in Korea,” Kosters said. “I had a couple uncles who were in the Marines in Korea, had an uncle that was in the Army in Vietnam and so, I have just had quite a few family members that have been military guys.” There was also another big reason driving his decision. “I didn’t have money for school, and I wanted to be able to go to college and it was one way to do that, to get money for college,” he said. “And then, I just wanted to be able to go and see a little bit of the world. To do something that was going to be full of adventure and excitement.” Joining the military the year before he

graduated high school, Kosters entered the delayed entry program to go into the Army. “You take the ASVAB and they give you a list of jobs you’re qualified, basically, for,” Kosters said. “You go to the recruitment center and they throw you the videos related to what you could do in the Army. I went through the videos and an M1-A1 tanker was one of the options and I saw that and it was, like four or five videos in – it wasn’t very deep – and I said, ‘I want to do that. That is something that looked very exciting and fun to a young man.” When Kosters turned 18, he entered basic training and served for two years. “I wasn’t certain it was something I was going to be interested in long-term, but I wanted to get the experience. I wanted to have the military experience,” he said. “I ended up going to Desert Storm.” Beginning in July 1990, Kosters completed his basic training and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Knox, Ky., and was stationed at Ft. Reilly, Kan. “I was on a plane over to Desert Storm Jan. 1, 1991” Kosters said. “So, I went over to Desert Storm as an 18-year-old kid and was out of Desert Storm before I turned 19. I got out of the military because I had been in combat and after that experience, being overseas, I didn’t really want to extend my tour at all … I was on an M1-A1 tank in combat. Not many people retired from tanks, because it’s really hard on you physically, emotionally, everything. It’s a taxing position.” Following his military service, Kosters attended Kansas State University, where he earned his degree in elementary education.

2020 Salute to Veterans is produced by the Black Hills Pioneer newspaper, 315 Seaton Circle, Spearfish, SD, 57783, (605) 642-2761 • (800) 676-2761 www.bhpioneer.com Letitia Lister, publisher Mark Watson, managing editor Sona O’Connell, advertising manager Melissa Barnett, layout The publisher will not be responsible or liable for misprints, misinformation or typographic errors herein contained. Publisher also reserves the right to refuse any advertising deemed not to be in the best interest of the publication. © 2020 BLACK HILLS PIONEER, all rights reserved.

THANK YOU for your service

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Tim Kosters

Tim Kosters is an Operation Desert Storm veteran. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson From there, he moved back to Selby and taught in Mobridge for six years before headeing to Deadwood. “When I was in the military, it’s when I pretty much defined my life’s expectation of being an educator, too. I knew that when I was in the military, it was very clear to me that I wanted to be a teacher and I wanted to go to school and to move on,” Kosters said. Kosters said he would recommend the military to young people. “It’s some of the best experience you will ever have in your life,” he said. “I understand that it’s a hard time now and everything. A lot of stuff’s going on right now in the world, to be in the military and it’s scary to be in the

military at this time, as well. But it does give you some of the absolute best experiences you’ll ever have in your life.” Kosters offered this quote he came across. “Military people are the ones that wrote a blank check for anything up to and including their life at the age of 18, so it’s an incredible honor and group of people that I’m proud to be a member of, is veterans,” he said. Kosters and his wife, Becky, have been married for 24 years. They have two children: Gracie, 20 and Eric, 13. They reside in Boulder Canyon. Kosters is a member of American Legion Post 31 in Lead.

Thank You for Your Service. 306 Cliff St., Deadwood Call 605-321-2613 or 402-430-5988 to make your Par-Tee time today!

Thank you for your service

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A proud salute

to those who have courageously risked their lives fighting for our freedoms.

Thank you.

Pg 16


Saluting Our Veterans

November 2020

Thank you for your service

support shown to our service s I look back at my members today was not almilitary service, ways the case. there are two periFollowing the massive paods that I am most proud rades that came after victory of — serving in Louisiana in Europe and later in Japan covering the cleanup after during World War II, that Hurricane Katrina ravaged nationwide support waned to the Gulf Coast, and a period the point where in the 1960s, in 2004 and 2005 when our our soldiers South Dakota returning home Guardsmen from Vietnam were deploying were welcomed and returning by being called home at a furi“Baby Killers,” ous rate. and they were Entire towns spat upon. shut down My dad was during that time among the thouso residents sands of soldiers could attend the who served in activation and Vietnam. At 25 welcome home Mark Watson he was the old ceremonies. Black HIlls Pioneer man in his comHundreds and pany — older even thousands than everyone with the exof people lined the streets ception of the first sergeant. waving flags and displaying He was even older than his homemade signs in both the company commander. sendoff and welcome home Fortunately, upon his parades. return home, he was not haI can’t count how many rassed like so many others, times I heard soldiers saying but he was definitely not that they didn’t want a pawelcomed with open arms. rade as they merely wanted On crutches, as his foot to focus on their pending was bandaged from shrapnel deployment, but in nearly wounds he received in a all cases, after the fact, they mortar attack, the military said they were amazed by left him to fend for himself. the support and were beyond Immediately after the grateful for the sendoffs. mortar attack, he hobbled You see, our citizens love to the medics tent. He was their soldiers. They are, afflown to Japan for treatment, ter all, our brothers, sisters, and then with his discharge husbands, and wives. They papers in his pocket and are our children, our friends, only the uniform on his back and our neighbors. and a set of crutches, he But the overwhelming

was flown to San Francisco. No money, none of his gear from Vietnam, not even money for a meal. “How can I get to Merced?” he asked a gas station attendant. Without looking up the man gave my dad driving directions. When dad replied that he was on foot, the man looked up. “In that uniform, in this town, you’re not getting a ride,” he said. Someone thankfully gave him change for the payphone, and he was able to call his mom in Merced, who made the 2.5-hour drive to pick him up. Luckily, things have changed. Today, our Guard leaders send a team to the demobilization stations to help process our soldiers’ return paperwork. Rather than weeks spent at bases in the U.S. waiting to have the I’s dotted and T’s crossed, the teams our state sends makes the wait only days before our soldiers are back in the arms of their loved ones. Today, our soldiers and veterans are thanked for their service, and rightfully so. That thank you never came for many of our Vietnam veterans. So, although long overdue, thank you and welcome home.

How to help veterans in need


illions of men and women serve in the military and make the sacrifices that such service requires. Risking their lives to serve their countries, veterans sometimes endure mental and physical trauma, returning home to face uphill battles as they deal with their injuries. Many veterans in need are not just in need of medical attention. Learning that their efforts and sacrifices are recognized and appreciated by the ordinary citizens they protect can make a world of difference to veterans as they recover from their injuries. Men, women and children who want to help veterans in need can do so in various ways. • Visit a veterans hospital. Contact a local veterans’ hospital to inquire about their volunteer programs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs notes that each year more than 75,000 volunteers spend more than 11 million hours in service to America’s veterans. Visiting veterans at the hospital to hear their stories can lift their spirits and aid in their recoveries. In addition, veterans’ hospitals may have volunteer opportunities that make it easier for hospitals to operate at optimal capacity. • Help a neighbor. Unfortunately, many veterans return home with injuries that affect their ability to make it through a typical day without assis-

tance. Disabled veterans may be unable to do their own grocery shopping or maintain their homes. If a neighbor or nearby veteran is facing such hurdles, offer to do his or her shopping or mow his or her lawn. Such tasks won’t take much time but can make a world of difference to veterans. • Offer professional services free of charge. Professionals who want to help veterans can offer their services free of charge. Accountants can offer to prepare veterans’ tax returns for free, while attorneys can provide legal advice to veterans who need it. Contractors can help disabled veterans by offering to make alterations to their homes for free or at cost. • Employ social media to help local veterans. Many people who want to help local veterans might not be able to do so more than one day per week. But some veterans may require daily assistance. Men and women can start a locally-based Facebook group for fellow members of their community who want to pitch in to help local veterans. Such a group can make it easier to share information and arrange help for veterans in need. Many veterans return home from serving overseas in need of help. Offering such help can improve veterans’ lives while letting them know their efforts and sacrifices are appreciated.

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Thank You, Veterans. On Veterans Day and always, we appreciate America’s veterans. Thank you to all of the men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation! 605-720-8315 2324 Junction Ave., Sturgis

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Salute to Veterans 2020  

Honoring America's Military Veterans.

Salute to Veterans 2020  

Honoring America's Military Veterans.

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