Ms. Betty Nixon, Meade County Veteran of the Month - December 2014
- Honorable Service Lapel Pin
- Honorable Discharge Emblem
- Honorable Discharge Pin
Mr. Warren Prascher, Meade County Veteran of the Month - November 2014
Mr. Warren Prascher:
Service years: 1945-1946
Mr Prascher was deferred from joining the military due to his father having passed. It was just him and his mother.
Mr. Prascher started his dedicated military service in the United States Army in 1945. He had gone into basic training and then into infantry training for WWII. The war had ended before they had to be sent overseas. Instead the 974th company was sent to the Philippines for one year. He was witness to the Independence of the Philippines.
- Camp Maxey, TX
- Cheyenne, WY
- Camp Carson, CO
Mr Prascher went to work in California for Ameritime Commission as a data handler filing test data and all the warehouse data from WWII. After they project was complete he moved to Nebraska to work for John Deere. In 1990 he became a territory manger. He retired in 1990. Mr Prascher was able to pursue his hobbies for hunting, fishing, and working in the Honor Guard. Mr Prascher served over 17 years in the honor guard at the Black Hills National Cemetery, honoring over 2600 funerals. Mr Prascher is married, he also has 4 children, and over 10 grand and great grand children.
He has been awarded the:
- Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
- WWII Victory Medal
- Philippine Independence Ribbon
Mr. Harold Grace, Meade County Veteran of the Month - October 2014
Mr. Harold Grace:
Service years: 1973-1993
Mr Grace went to college at SD School of Mines for civil engineering. He was also part of ROTC.
After college he was able to skip basic training due to ROTC and go straight into officer training in the Air Force. He advanced quickly through the pilot program. Mr. Grace started his dedicated military service in the United States Air Force in 1973. Service to country was a family trait, as his father was in the AF pilot of the B17 during WWII.
- Mather AFB, CA 14-15 months for Navigator training (classroom)
- Castle AFB, CA 8-12 weeks (hands on training)
- K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI 5 winters moving up to the radar navigator (bombardier) position
- Robbins AFB, GA 1 year as a Instructor and another year for the simulator; met his wife Linda
- Castle AFB, CA Instructor on flight line. Made Major, daughter Megan was born
- Royal Air Force Fairfield, England 3 years Staff planner and non-flyer position. Son Tim was born
- Ellsworth AFB, SD Tactics Development
temporary Duty Assignments to include:
- Guam & Texas
In March of 1993 he was able to retire. He went back to school for his teaching certificate. He taught Math at New Underwood HS for one year before going to Central HS to build Science labs for 10 years. After fully retiring, he now enjoys riding his Harley. His wife Linda has retired from teaching special ed and literacy, his son is in the AF, his daughter a nurse.
He has been awarded the:
- Meritorious service medal w/2 oak leaf clusters (OLC)
- AF Commendation medal w/1 OLC
- AF Achievement medal
- Joint Meritorious Unit award
- AF outstanding award w/3 OLC
- Combat Readiness Medal w/1 OLC
- National Defense Service Medal W/1 Bronze Star
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Af Overseas Long Tour Ribbon
- AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon W/3 OLC
- Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
- Southwest Asia Medal
- Air Force Training Medal
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Grace for his service to his country during Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Gulf War.
Mr. Morris Hallock, Meade County Veteran of the Month - September 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for September 2014 is Mr. Morris Hallock.
Mr. Hallock served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946.
At the young age of seventeen, Mr. Hallock started his dedicated military service in the United States Navy. Service to country was a family trait, as all but one of his brothers served in the military.
When he arrived to boot camp at Farragut, Idaho during WWII, there were five different training centers. Over 293,000 sailors received basic training at Farragut during its thirty months of existence.
Following training, Mr. Hallock climbed aboard Destroyer USS Putnam - serving two years at sea during WWII.
- San Francisco, CA
- South Pacific
Of historical note, Mr. Hallock witnessed The Battle of Okinawa, code named Operation Iceberg, which was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945.
He was also in Tokyo Bay during the Japanese surrender.
While out at sea, one of his vivid memories was when his entire ship was disappointed because the Japanese had sunk one of the ships that was to stock their destroyer with BEER.
Ending his sea duty, Mr. Hallock was sent back to Long Beach, CA. where he recalls a lonely Christmas of 1945. Most Navy members were able to go home that year, but he did not receive any leave as he and his fellow brothers provided the ship’s security detail while docked.
Service connected injuries often come years after active duty service. Mr. Hallock was in the hospital for about a year due to a fungus in his lungs - resulting in parts of his lungs and a few ribs being removed.
In May of 1946 he was finally able to return home and start a civilian career in the newspaper business and public service.
During the war, the Homestead newspaper in Kadoka, SD had closed. Mr. Hallock’s grandfather bought this paper along with a newspaper in Phillip, SD.
- Met wife (Miriam) in May 1954 and married a month later
- Served as SD Secretary of Finance
- Elected to State House of Representatives in 1968
- Served as Director of the South Dakota Department of Highways
- Served as Secretary on the State Highway Commission
- Owned the Sturgis Tribune and Black Hills Press
- Founded Tri-state Livestock News
- 1987 sold newspapers to retire
- Shortly after, he joined the real estate market and will again retire this coming December
Mr Hallock has four children and four grandchildren.
Mr. Chris Mechling, Meade County Veteran of the Month - August 2014
During WWII both his parents worked in the shipyard. After the war they moved to Sturgis where he graduated HS. After HS he continued on to Black Hills State and graduated in 1955 with a BA in education. He worked as a teacher and coach for 3 years in Buffalo, Sturgis, and Fort Meade.
Mr Mechling began enlisted and worked his way up to the rank of sergeant first class prior to being appointed a second lieutenant in the engineer corps of the SD Army Nation Guard in 1957. He was assigned as executive officer of the 109th Battalions H&S Co. Over his 39 1/2 years of service he held various command and staff level positions in the 109th Engineer Battalion at Sturgis until transferred to state headquarters in Rapid City as the Military Support Officer and promoted to lieutenant colonel. Mr Mechling was appointed Chief of Staff in 1978 and promoted to colonel in 1979. In 1985 he received a branch transfer to Adjutant General Corps, and was promoted to brigadier general, assistant adjutant general, both on the same day.
He has been awarded the:
- Meritorious Service Medal
- Army Commendation Medal
- Army Achievement Medal
- Army Occupation Medal
- Good Conduct Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Armed Forces Reserve medal with 10 year device (2)
- Army Reserves components achievement medal with 3 Oak leaf clusters
- Army Service Ribbon
Today both Mr and Mrs Mechling are both part of/ are volunteers for United Way of the Black Hills, Military Officers Association of America, Disabled American Veterans, Commanders Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Kiwanis International, the legion and also Fort Meade where Mrs Mechling worked for 40 years.
Mr. Edward Baier, Meade County Veteran of the Month - July 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for July 2014 is Mr. Edward Baier.
Mr. Baier enlisted into the United States Army National Guard in 1952 while he was a junior in High School. In 1955 he was able to keep his rank and transferred into Active Duty. He was first sent to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and then to Fort Orange, CA. Despite the fact that he wasn't completely finished with his training, he was asked to fill the spot of drill sergeant (he was also a platoon sergeant). After fulfilling that duty he was sent to the 4th infantry working border patrol for East and West German Border for 15 months before being honorably discharged. Mr. Baier has been awarded the Sharpshooter medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
After his discharge, Mr. Baier came back to Rapid City, but was soon offered a job in Washington working for Boeing. After spending 2 years with Boeing, Mr. Baier decided to pursue a career in Law Enforcement and became a policeman for 3 years before coming back to Rapid City to work for Chief Wayne Armstrong on the RCPD. It was during his law enforcement years that he met his wife. After 13 years of service, he switched gears again and got a job with the Fort Meade VA as chief- a position at which he served until his retirement 20 years later.
After retirement he found work for an auction house in the early 80s to stay busy. He has also spent some time writing magazine articles about truth detectors and metal detectors.
Today he still volunteers at the local American Legion, 7+ years at Fort Meade, and also with the No Vet Dies Alone. His wife is also a volunteer.
Mr. Baier has a son and a daughter, and- in his own words- “lots of grandchildren.”
Mr.Frank Kaufmann - Meade County Veteran of the Month - June 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for June 2014 is Mr. Frank Kaufmann.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Kaufmann enlisted into the United States Navy in October of 1942. His brother Charles was enlisted too.
Mr. Kaufmann joined the Navy because he had never seen the ocean. He went from St. Louis to boot camp at the Naval Station Great Lakes. His career field was a welder ship-fitter. After boot camp he was sent to Northern Ireland, traveling with thousands of troops on the Queen Mary. From Ireland he was sent to New Guinea and was there when the Japanese surrendered. Mr. Kaufmann was discharged in November of 1945. Between wars, Mr. Kaufmann married Lorraine Hazard in 1947 and he joined the St. Louis Fire Department.
In September of 1950, Mr. Kaufmann was called back into service for the Korean War. He was stationed at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard where he worked again as a Welder/Ship Fitter 1st Class. Lorraine was able to live there with him on the base.
Mr. Kaufmann was honorably discharged in June of 1952. The Kaufmanns returned to St. Louis where they started a family and Frank continued his career on the fire department. He retired after 20 years of service and subsequently worked in Safety Management until he retired in 1982.
In 1972, the Kaufmanns fulfilled a lifelong dream and purchased a farm an hour south of St. Louis. Mr. Kaufmann enjoyed raising cattle and various crops until Lorraine passed in 2008 and Frank then sold the farm. He moved to South Dakota in 2010 to be near his daughter. Mr. Kaufmann has 3 children, 8 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.
Mr. Kaufmann has been awarded:
- American Area Combat Ribbon
- Victory Medal
- European Theater Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Medal
Mr. Kaufmann plays the banjo and enjoys reading, sketching, being outside gardening, and his time with children and grandchildren.
Mr. Charles Muhm, Meade County Veteran of the Month - May 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for May 2014 is Mr. Charles Muhm.
Mr. Muhm was drafted into the United States Army in 1953. Shortly after joining the military he was sent to Korea.
Mr. Muhm spent 17 months in Korea. He started off those months in Infantry. He was with the 38th Parallel. Their job was to dig trenches and build bunkers in the hill side which was a dangerous job in Korea known as trench warfare. After 7 months, he was sent to Yeongdeungpo District (Yeongdeungpo-gu) to assist them there in rationing out supplies for the troops.
- United Nations Service Medal
- Korean Service Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Good Conduct Medal
The military then dismissed him 31 Dec of 1954. He went on to ranching. After his time of doing that he went to work for the railroad as a telegraph operator. Over the period of 35 years he lived in SD, NE, WY and IA while working for the Chicago North Western Railroad. He had met his wife in Hot Springs, and they have been married 35 years with 2 children, 2 grand children, and 1 great grand child.
After his service to his country, he continued to assist veterans too. Mr. Muhm is part of the Sturgis Honor Guard which they participate in funerals, rifle firing, flag folding for families. They also participate in the local parades. Mr. Muhm wife also plays a large role with veterans. She was a nurse at the VA for 31 years before retiring. Mr. Muhm and his wife also volunteer at the local Corner Stone Mission.
Mr. Roy Kornmeyer, Meade County Veteran of the Month - April 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for April 2014 is Mr. Roy Kornmeyer from Sturgis.
Mr. Kornmeyer was drafted into the United States Army in 1942 even though he was an only child. Mr. Kornmeyer is special due to the fact he has been in the Army, the Army Air Corps, the Army National Guard, and the Air Force. He had multiple career fields throughout his military service. He was an aircraft engineer officer, a flight engineer, and then became a pilot in World War II. Some of the aircraft he has flown includes: UH helo, AT-10 Wichita twin engine, UC-78 cargo plane, B-29 Superfortress bomber, B-51 tri-jet, B-26 bomber, and BD-5
Mr. Kornmeyer has done a lot of travels throughout the US as well as Foreign service to include:
- Washington, DC
- New Mexico
After 40 years of service to his country, he also had multiple career fields throughout his personal life. He was a rancher, mechanic/owner of garage, deputy sheriff, policeman, security, rocket engineer, construction worker, and professor. This year, he will be 92. His hobbies include playing the violin and other string instruments and playing cards with the wife and neighbors. He will be celebrating his 72nd wedding anniversary this year.
Mr. Jeffrey Finneman, Meade County Veteran of the Month - March 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for March 2014 is Mr. Jeffrey Finneman from Sturgis.
Mr. Finneman was drafted by the United States Army in 1969 and separated in 1971. His Career field was a machine operator. He entered the service in Golva, ND.
Mr. Finneman has done a lot of travels throughout the US as well as Foreign service to include:
- Vietnam (2 years)
In Vietnam he performed a lot of guard duty as well as land and water building for the mine protection fields.
- Army Commendation Medal
- National Defense Medal
- Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Medal
- Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device
- Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars
After separating from the military, Mr. Finneman worked in the farming and ranching business. He moved to Sturgis in 1988. His hobbies include riding his motorcycle and spending time with his loved ones.
Mr. Heath Soelzer, Meade County Veteran of the Month - February 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for February 2014 is Mr. Heath Soelzer from Sturgis.
Mr. Soelzer enlisted in the United States Army in 2008 and separated in 2013. His career field was a cannon crew-member which is a 13B Field Artillery. He entered the service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from Hill City, South Dakota. He was sent to his first duty station with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
Mr. Soelzer was deployed to Paktika Province of Afghanistan. While there, he was on FOB Boris (Forward operating base).
He was awarded the following:
- Afghanistan Campaign medal with campaign star
- Purple Heart
- Army Commendation Medal (2nd award)
- Good conduct medal
- National defense medal
- Global war on terrorism service medal
- Army service medal
- Overseas service medal
- NATO Medal
How he acquired the purple heart: On May 10th 2010, they had a fire mission against the Taliban. They were shooting an M198 which shoots 155mm rounds. When they fired the howitzer, the round blew up in the tube. He was standing approximately three meters from the gun. All six individuals took shrapnel wounds. Three of the six were injured badly enough that they were flown state side. Those three were medically retired. The only reason they are still alive is by the grace of God. They received their purple hearts when their unit returned on April 14th 2011.
After retiring from the military, Mr Soelzer’s hobbies include shooting, flying remote control helicopters, spending time with his wife Mindie of four years and his two little girls, Elizabeth and Arabella. Mr. Soelzer is an alumni with the Wounded Warrior Project and enjoys helping wounded warriors.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Soelzer for his service to his country during Operation Enduring Freedom and the Gulf War.
Mr. Ray Hunter, Meade County Veteran of the Month - January 2014
The Meade County Veteran of the Month for January 2014 is Mr. Ray Hunter from Sturgis.
Mr. Hunter enlisted in the United States Marines in 1946 and separated in 1948. His influence to go into the military was from another ranch hand he worked with who served in World War II. His friend served and came back with shrapnel wounds and in his mind, came back a man. He thought going into the Marines, just like his friend did, might make him into a man, too. His career field was a sea going marine guard. He was also categorized as a sharp shooter. He entered the service in Los Angeles, California. He was then sent to San Diego for basic training.
Mr. Hunter has done a lot of travels throughout the US as well as Foreign service to include:
- different islands in the Mediterranean
- Crete (Greece)
- North Africa
He returned to the United States after being away for almost two years. After serving his country, he went back into the family business of ranching. He also was a auctioneer and real estate agent. He retired from ranching out of Mud Butte 10 years ago before moving to Sturgis.
We, the Meade County Commission and the people of Meade County, would like to recognize and give a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Hunter for his service to his country during World War II.