Brookings register | Six veterans honored at SDSU
BROOKINGS – In the presence of National President Jean Hamil, members of the Brookings Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary # 2118 honored six veterans in a Quilts of Valor ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Medal of Honor Park on the campus of the ‘South Dakota State University.
Following the display of colors by ROTC Army and Air Cadets, the National Anthem and introductions by VFW South Dakota Auxiliary President Wanda Mix, a welcome message was given by the President from the SDSU, Barry Dunn.
Referring to the SDSU “as a state land granting institution … with a long history and a long tradition of our excellent military science program,” he noted that “literally thousands of young men and women women received their training on this campus “.
The President thanked Lt. Col. Jason Kettwig, commander and professor of the military science department of the Army ROTC, and Lt. Col. Jason Haufschild, professor of aerospace studies and commander of the Air Force ROTC Det 780, for their leadership.
Additionally, Dunn thanked Russ Chavez and Connie Johnson for their leadership within the SDSU Veterans Resource Center, citing their “tireless work for our students who are proud veterans.”
“I want to thank all of the volunteers who gave of their time for the healing of others,” Dunn added, citing the Quilts of Valor program. “What an incredible way to say thank you to those who have served our nation. “
In concluding his remarks, the President thanked Hamil “for visiting our campus and being part of the rest of today’s program. It’s always a great day to be a Jackrabbit.
“I am truly touched and honored to be here today, among these promising leaders,” said Hamil, referring to the ROTC cadets who flaunted the colors. “And honoring these veterans among us is going to be exceptional. It is a pleasure to be here.
Honor six who served
Brookings Area Quilt Guild President Deb Carlson and Brookings VFW Auxiliary Hospital Program Chair Linda Vollan assisted Dunn and Hamil in presenting the quilts.
Veterans receiving quilts were: Colten Allen, Marine Corps, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology; Jordan Bogenrief, Marine Corps, who has served in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq, and now works as a personnel advisor at SDSU; Santana Hanson, South Dakota Army National Guard, who served in Iraq and is a graduate student studying ruminant nutrition; Bailey Ross, Coast Guard now specializing in nursing and serving as an Air Force Reservist in an Aero-Medical Evacuation Squadron; Brandon Bak, Air Force, now stationed with the 114th Fighter Wing at Joe Foss Field in Soux Falls, where he is responsible for maintenance; and Bill Flippo, of the military, who has toured Iraq and Afghanistan several times and now works for the South Dakota National Guard as a family readiness specialist.
Official state visit
Hamil has been in the VFW auxiliary chain of command for over four years. She campaigned and won a national office in 2016.
“And then you keep stepping up,” she explained. “Every step you take is a different position. In the fifth year, you become National President. As president, I serve one year.
She resides in Orlando, Florida, and her auxiliary chapter is in Chuluota Township. As National President, her functions are much broader.
“I’m like the ambassador of the VFW Auxiliary for a year,” Hamil explained. Its functions include: “Going out, thanking our members for everything they do, trying to attract new members, merging our past with our present and our future, because we want to continue to be sustainable as an organization.” Cheerleader, I guess.
Her travel diary and itinerary aim to visit all 50 states and Panama, which has an auxiliary chapter, before she leaves office. His deadline for mission accomplished is April 22, 2022.
“Of course, over the past two years, with the COVID situation, current presidents have had to delay travel. They haven’t reached 50 (states). But our goal is to reach all 50 states. “
Hamil began his travels on August 23. South Dakota is its fourth state visit. State visits by the President are coordinated at the national level, with input from Assistant State Presidents; for the visit to South Dakota, it was Wanda Mix, a member of Auxiliary Brookings VFW. Hamil noted that visits are sometimes coordinated around events that would attract a lot of members. Tuesday’s Quilts of Valor ceremony was such an event and many auxiliary members attended.
“Our goal is to meet as many members as possible,” explained Hamil. This trip to South Dakota will likely be her only one during her tenure as National President. After her year as president, she will serve another four years as a voting member of an auxiliary council.
Hamil is a “kid in the navy”. Her late father, a Korean War veteran, served for 21 years and retired as chief petty officer. His eligibility for the VFW Auxiliary is based on his service.
Men are now eligible to become members of what was once the “VFW Ladies Auxiliary”.
Contact John Kubal at [email protected]