by Marlys Kruger
In front of a full house which included students in the entire school, staff members, veterans and their spouses and families and American Legion auxiliary members, Colfax District Administrator Bill Yingst, a retired Command Sergeant Major with the U. S. Army Reserve, was the keynote speaker at the annual Veterans Day program held Nov. 9 in the Colfax High School gym.
After another veteran had to decline the speaking engagement due to medical problems, Yingst stepped up to the plate and as usual, was prepared to represent and honor his fellow veterans. Yingst enlisted in the U. S. Army Reserve in 1985 as a Bridge Crewman at the 327th Engineer Company in Ellsworth, WI and attended basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, MI. He is a graduate of every U. S. Army Non-Commissioned Officer leadership course offered and his units of assignment besides Ellsworth include Command Sgt. Maj. 376th Finance Battalion in Wausau, Wi for 15 years and Command Sgt. Maj. 367th Engineer Battalion Combat Corps Light out of St. Cloud, MN. He was a part of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2004-05 and served in Afghanistan for a 13 month and a 15 month deployment and retired in 2006 after over 20 years of service.
With elections now over, Yingst told the crowd how lucky we are to be able to go to the voting booth and vote for whoever we want without being afraid to do so. He also asked everyone to do three things to honor and show respect for veterans including: display a flag at your home or business, attend a Memorial Day or Veterans Day program each year, and thank a veteran for their service to our country.
Elementary principal Trevor Hovde and fifth grade students led the program which included music by the middle school and high school bands and songs by the high school and middle school choirs. And elementary students sang their hearts out with “God Bless America”.
Several students read essays on “What the American Flag Means to me” and also explained how each branch of service was formed. Fifth graders handed out a single rose to veterans, their widows, spouses and members of the American Legion Auxiliary, and after the program, they were all given a homemade apple pie which students in various grade levels made for them and they were also treated with coffee and cookies made by the kitchen staff.