Sgt. Colton Levi Derr Gala raises thousands for victims of PTSD

Raises awareness for soldiers' invisible wounds

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Community members came together on Saturday evening to honor and remember the victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Around 280 people attended the fifth annual Sergeant Colton Levi Derr Gallantly Forward Gala, which raises money for veterans.

A banner hangs at the Sgt. Colton Levi Derr Foundation Gala on Oct. 20, 2018

People could donate or bid on items in a silent auction. The money is then donated to veterans to help with rent, heating bills or any other assistance they may need.

The gala honors Sgt. Colton Levi Derr, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who passed away in 2012. He served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During his entire service, Derr completed over 500 combat missions.

After his passing, friends and family created the fundraiser to raise awareness about the invisible wounds many soldiers face after they return from deployment.

“I think one of the things people are so timid about is that they don’t know what to ask or what to look for,” said Wyatt Derr, one of the organizers. “Basically, we’re just trying to educate people on what to look for, how people are reacting if they have PTSD, and the issues they go through. Basically what to do or say to help alleviate the pain someone’s going through.”

The gala raises around $25,000 every year.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News