Rapid City council members reflect on military service
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Many U.S. veterans continue to serve their communities even after military duties have ended. For several members of the Rapid City Council, Veteran’s Day is a time to reflect on their own memories of service and honor those that have sacrificed for the nation.
Jason Salamun has been a council member since 2016. He says that his years in the U.S. Air Force prepared him for public service. “Integrity first,” he writes. “Service before self. Excellence in all we do. These are the core values of the United States Air Force, and they continue to serve as my guiding principles in public service and in life.”
Another council member, Amanda Scott, served in the Air Force for over four years. She remembers how tight-knit military communities can become overseas. “Not only did the base itself have a community spirit, but the closeness of our unit was amazing. It really is an extended family when serving overseas!”
Steve Laurenti was a cargo specialist and honor guard for the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1989. He was also a member of the army battalion shooting team. He says the lessons he learned in the military guide his actions as a council member. “Discipline,” he writes. “Focusing on those things within your span of control, not quitting when the going gets tough, being grateful for things you have, not things you want.”
Ritchie Nordstrom joined the city council in 2011 and was with the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1971. He says one of his fondest memories of service was picking up the astronaut crew after the Apollo 14 splashdown in the South Pacific Ocean. To him, “Saying thanks for serving our country seems like, at times, not sufficient enough for being in harm’s way, for the sacrifices you make to be a service person to our country.”
Reflecting on how to thank veterans for their service, Salumun writes, “Some have sacrificed their bodies, their relationships, and even their lives so we could enjoy our freedoms and live in peace. May our fellow citizens recognize the best way to honor those who’ve served is to live in peace and respect one another. That’s what so many bravely fought for.”