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Black Hills State University head football coach Jay Long (right) and assistant football coach Shad Schneider (left), honor student soldier and football player, Luke Whalen (center), sophomore outdoor education major from Pierre, during the Student Soldier Recognition Ceremony. Whalen, from the 842nd Engineering Company, is scheduled to deploy September 2011.

Black Hills State University honored 16 student soldiers during the Student Soldier Recognition Ceremony held recently on campus. These student soldiers will be deployed this summer and fall.

Over 100 people gathered in the Atrium of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union for the Student Soldier Recognition Ceremony. The BHSU Chamber Singers performed the National Anthem, the ROTC Cadets presented the Flag, and BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp expressed her appreciation and admiration for the soldiers. Kim Nida, assistant director of Financial Aid and VA Certifying Official at BHSU, described the atmosphere as emotional, and noted that there was a tremendous turnout to wish these soldiers well and to thank them for their service.

The cadets also performed a flag-folding ceremony and presented the flag to Chris Castle, president of the Yellow Jackets Veteran’s Club. CPT Allen Godsell, from the 842nd Engineer Company and BHSU alum, spoke briefly prior to the recognition of the students who are being deployed.

Members of the Yellow Jackets Veterans Club as well as veterans from the community attended a luncheon in The Hive before the ceremony. BHSU students who are being deployed attended the activities and were honored and recognized.

BHSU student soldiers who are being deployed include:

Tyler Weyrich, freshman biology major from Whitewood will deploy May 2011 with the 189th - Rapid City; Amanda Cline, graduate student in strategic leadership from Rapid City, and Taryn DeMers, senior business administration from Spearfish who will deploy May 2011 with the 200th – Pierre.

Deploying September 2011 with the 842nd - Northern Hills are: Anthony Althoff, junior elementary education from Belle Fourche; Karen Berger, junior outdoor education major from Spearfish; Tyrel Boettcher, freshman from Spearfish; Benjamin Cook, freshman outdoor education major from Sturgis; Jacob Dschaak, sophomore psychology major from Belle Fourche; Taylor Hagel, freshman business administration major from Rapid City; Tyrell Hanzlik, junior business administration major from Spearfish; Billy Heisinger, senior human services major from Whitewood; Benjamin McCann, sophomore social science major from Spearfish; Randall Roseland, freshman technology major from Belle Fourche; Alyssa Weaver, sophomore pre-med/biology major from Newell; Luke Whalen, sophomore outdoor education major from Spearfish; and Kymberlee Williamson, sophomore biology major from Belle Fourche.

According to Nida, there was a tremendous turnout to wish these soldiers well and thank them for their service. “I was overwhelmed by the support from the BHSU community as these students prepare for deployment,” she says.

Students who will be deploying expressed their thanks for the campus and community support.

Lacey Livermont, a junior sociology major from Belle Fourche, expressed her thanks to the student soldiers by saying, “Oh my, what an emotional event; my heart is going with them. Thank you never seems like enough, but thank you.”