Janklow thanks National Guard

Janklow thanks National Guard Gov. Bill Janklow praised the performance of the South Dakota National Guard in helping deal with disasters this year, and he thanked their employers and co-workers back home for covering the gaps while they were in the field.

Janklow said South Dakota's local fire departments and other emergency personnel likewise deserve recognition for their contributions, as well as their employers and co-workers.

"We're a big state with not very many people, but our people have big hearts. Whether it was fire in the Black Hills National Forest or out on the prairie, or the wind storm in Brookings County, the true spirit of South Dakota came out every time. These are everyday citizens with families and jobs who have volunteered to come when called. When we do call on them, they come running, but just as important, someone else back home steps up to fill in for them while they're gone, whether it's at work or at the local fire department or getting the lawn mowed," Janklow said.

Members of the South Dakota National Guard put in the equivalent of 4,540 work-days from April through August working disasters across the state. Those included 1,120 at the Grizzly Gulch fire that threatened Lead and Deadwood; 960 at the Little Elk fire; 120 at the Horse Looking fire on the Rosebud Indian Reservation; and 1,200 at the Battle Creek fire that threatened Keystone. They worked 19 different fires and storms.

"Our National Guard members are outstanding when it comes to helping fight fires. They have become an integral part of the effort. They set the example for the nation on how effective it can be to use their personnel and their equipment such as bulldozers and Blackhawk helicopter crews in attacking a small fire quickly to get it under control, or helping contain a big fire," Janklow said.

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