COLFAX — Filling in for a scheduled guest speaker who had a family emergency, retired Command Sergeant Major Bill Yingst Sr. addressed the large crowd during the annual Veterans Day Program held Nov. 11 in the Colfax High School gym.
Yingst Sr. joined the Army Reserve in Ellsworth, WI on July 22, 1967 and served in the 327th Panel Bridge Company and the 652nd Engineer Ribbon Bridge company for 22 years. In 1989 he was promoted to Master Sergeant and transferred to Fort Snelling.
During his seven years at Fort Snelling he was promoted to First Sergeant and then Sergeant Major in charge of the Strength Management Division. After completing the Sergeant Majors Academy in 1995 he was promoted to Command Sergeant Major and his next assignment would be the Battalion CSM for the 397th Engineer Battalion located in Eau Claire, WI. His final assignment was the Brigade Group CSM for the 646th Area Support Group in Madison, WI. He was awarded several medals for his service including the Legion of Merit and the Maritime Service to name a few, and retired Sept. 30, 2002 after 35 years of service.
In his short speech (as required by somebody of a higher command from the school), Yingst Sr. explained the history of Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day). He then urged all of the students in attendance to thank a veteran for their service to our country anytime they had a chance. He explained how important it was for veterans to hear they were appreciated for their service.
Yingst Sr. is the father of District Administrator Bill Yingst Jr. (who followed in his footsteps) and continues to serve his community as the president of the Durand School Board and Rod and Gun Club and is on the Board of Directors for the WIAA as well as being involved in other organizations.
Patriotic songs were performed by the elementary students, the high school choir and the middle and high school bands during the program. Several fifth graders read their own essay on “What the Flag Means to Me” and a flag folding demonstration was given, also by fifth graders. Members of the UW-Stout ROTC presented the Colors at the opening and closing and Brooke Ponto and Abbie Greenwell played Taps.Roses were given to family members and spouses of veterans to show appreciation for all they do at home when someone is serving our country, and apple pies made by Colfax students were given to all veterans after the program.