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november/december 2008

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Rapid City, South Dakota, Chapter 463
A Spring Snow
BY VIRGIL STOCKSTAD

Rapid City Chapter 463 sponsored a Vietnam-era reunion in Deadwood, South Dakota, on May 2-4. On May 1, a huge spring storm left two feet of snow on the lower elevations and even more up in the hills. It looked like a year’s worth of planning was going to go down the drain, but Chapter 463 President Jack Dean would not be denied. “Coming as far as we had,” he said, “we were not about to back out.”

The reunion would proceed even if it meant losing money. Which we did. Friday night’s events were cancelled because most businesses were closed. On Saturday morning, the hotel’s guests grabbed shovels and cleared a path for us to the building where we were hosting some of the day’s events. Those events required a lot of improvisation and only a small number attended the activities.

Saturday night was the big night of the reunion. Fifty-six guests attended from all over South Dakota. The pre-dinner program was a hit; dinner was great; and an auction followed. The auctioneer never showed, but Chapter Secretary Paul Miller rose to the challenge and took on the job. The auction was such a hit that the band missed its first set, but it was worth it. This small group raised $2,100 for the veterans of the Black Hills.

Sunday’s memorial service called for more can-do volunteerism. When the chaplain didn’t show, Jack Dean directed a simple, respectful ceremony. Air Force Junior ROTC cadets posted the colors, then presented three laser-engraved plaques listing the names of all those from South Dakota who were killed in Vietnam. Chapter members laid a wreath in their memory, and a short prayer ended the service.

Chapter 463 is a small chapter, but we are getting things done to help veterans.

 

 

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