Salute to Veterans
Join us as we salute our Veterans at the SD State Fair! This year's keynote speakers are MG (Ret) Tim Reisch and Elsie Van Beek.
Major General (Retired) Timothy A. Reisch was appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard as South Dakota's 21st Adjutant General on 2 April 2011, and Governor Kristi Noem reappointed him when she took office in January of 2019. As the Adjutant General, Reisch served as the Commanding General for both the South Dakota Air and Army National Guard and guided the preparation of 4,300 Air and Army National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen and over 1,000 full-time federal and state employees to respond in times of state or national emergency. Reisch logged over 40 years in the military before retiring in June of 2019.
On the civilian side, Reisch was elected the Sheriff of Miner County South Dakota at age 24 in 1982 and was re-elected in the four subsequent elections. In 2000, he accepted an appointment as the Deputy Cabinet Secretary of the SD Department of Corrections by Governor Bill Janklow. When Mike Rounds was elected Governor, he appointed Reisch as the Cabinet Secretary of Corrections, a position he held for over 8 years. He returned to that position in 2021 at the request of Governor Noem serving for 5 additional months.
Reisch was appointed as the Miner County Veterans Service Officer in August of 2020 and continues to serve in that role on a part-time basis. In 2022 he was elected to the SD House of Representatives in District 8 which includes portions of Brookings and Miner Counties as well as all of Kingsbury and Lake Counties. He serves as the Chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
General Reisch has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University, a Master of Science degree in Administrative Studies from the University of South Dakota and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. In 2010 Reisch was one of 40 emerging state leaders from across the nation selected for the prestigious Toll Fellowship Program sponsored by the Council of State Governments. He is married to the former Anne Roby of Carthage, and they have five children and six grandchildren. Reisch enjoys the pastimes of hunting and camping.
Elsie Honors follows a young lady with big dreams. Since August 2017, our Patriotic Princess, Elsie Van Beek, has had the privilege of meeting over 1,300 of our Veterans to say Thank You. She gives each a special personalized dog tag to commemorate their specific flight when they return to Sioux Falls. She wanted to pay it even further and sponsored a flight at the "Medal of Honor Flight" level of $50,000. She started this goal, at the age of 13, after her older brother, the CEO of Midwest Honor Flight, said she could go on a flight if she sponsored it. In June 2021, Elsie Honors was created. Primarily, she raised her funds through baking and selling cupcakes. In February 2023, she reached her first goal of $50,000 to get naming rights of the flight. After, she increased her goal to $85,000 to not only get naming rights of the flight but sponsor all 83 Veterans that went on her sponsored flight. She reached this milestone the day before her flight took off.
Her flight took off from Sioux Falls on May 31, 2023 known as the Elsie Honors Mission 15. Elsie had the opportunity to go on this flight and not only see where the money she raised went, she also was able to spend the entire day meeting all the Veterans that benefited from her flight. Veterans had the opportunity to see Arlington National Cemetery to witness the Changing of the Guards along with time at each of the memorials: WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln, Navy, Air Force, and Iwo Jima.
Soon after the flight, Elsie realized how important this day is for our Veterans and has decided to tie in her Eagle Scout project with supporting more Veterans traveling on future flights, possibly another sponsored flight. Learn more about Elsie Honors on Facebook or visiting www.midwesthonorflight.org/ElsieHonors