Combat engineer addresses Rotary
The Vermillion Rotary club met this past Tuesday at the Freedom Forum on the USD Campus, as usual. Even though our meeting date was 1-11-11, we turned out to have a rather normal meeting. The meeting was opened by President John Prescott leading the Boy Scout prayer and the Four-Way test pledge for Rotarians to act for the benefit of all concerned in our professional and private lives.
Opening songs were �The Happy Wanderer� and �I�ve Been Working on the Railroad,� led by Joe Edelen and Jack Noble on the piano. The president announced that the total collections for the Salvation Army this past Christmas, in which Rotary also took a turn, were over $4,000, and that January is Rotary Awareness Month. We also recognized Ed Nesselhuf�s birthday which comes this month.
Rotary�s program for this week was given by Staff Sergeant Neil Wallin, a member of the 211th Combat Engineers Company of the National Guard. Sergeant Wallin, who has been in the Guard for 15 years, has served as a medic on two different tours of duty in the Middle East, one in Iraq in 2003-2004, and one in Afghanistan in 2009+2010.
The 211th Engineers are known as �Sappers,� because their main work in battle areas is to find and destroy Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and to destroy them before they can harm our troops. As Sergeant Wallin put it graphically, �our job is to look for trouble and handle it.�
Being out on the roads in a combat area also subjects the engineers to ambush, and although Neil�s unit did not suffer any major casualties in their last deployment, a number of men received shrapnel wounds and others suffered from concussions from IEDs that hit their vehicles.
Special vehicles that are highly armored and designed to deflect explosions away from their undersides are used by the engineers, but these are usually wrecked by a large explosion and even though the crew is able to walk away, concussions often result.
Sergeant Wallin showed a number of video sequences of travel in Afghanistan�s back county, including one of a large vehicle being hit by an IED. Its crew survived in good condition but the vehicle was permanently put out of commission. He also showed video clips of the engineers blowing up IEDs they had found to get rid of them. The situation is also very bad for the local people who live under constant threat of death to themselves an their families by the Taliban if they are caught helping the Allied forces.
We thank Staff Sergeant Neil Wallin for his bravery and dedication to American freedom, as well as for providing us with a very interesting program. We also thank God that his unit was able to return home without losing one man. Our meeting was closed with the usual singing of the first stanza of �My Country �This of Thee.�
Meckling Livestock 4-H met Dec. 13
The Meckling Livestock 4-H club met on Dec. 13, 2010 for the monthly meeting at the 4-H Center. The meeting was called to order by President Seth Heine. Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-H Pledge were led by Allison Heine. We welcomed a new member to our club this month, Peyton Larson. The secretary�s report was read and approved. There was not a treasurer�s report. The leaders thanked all members who assisted with bell ringing for the Salvation Army and for assisting with the crafts at the W.H. Over Museum Christmas Festival.
Winter Festival for the Extension Service was Dec. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. Soup and ice cream was served to participants. There were door prizes given away also. We had a booth promoting 4-H. 4-H enrollment forms were due by Dec. 31 to the Extension Office. Upcoming camps and conferences were announced.
New Business consisted of writing thank you notes to the Achievement Days premium money sponsors, the Clay County Fair Board and Monsanto. National 4-H Conference applications were due to the Extension Office by Jan.1. Members voted to participate in the annual PTA carnival by working at assigned booths and donating prizes to the event. Members voted to also write Valentines to soldiers for the February Community Service Project. Members voted to also sponsor a basket for the After-Prom Party Fundraiser. We will be donating two VHS activity tickets and a certificate for free lawn raking.
Following the meeting demonstrations were given by Tyler Hauck on the �Red Bellied Cooter Could Be Gone in a Snap!� Phillip Hauck on �Christmas Popcorn� and Nicole Hauck on � Reindeer Table Favors.� Members enjoyed snacks served by Seth Heine. We finished the evening by playing Christmas bingo and Pin the Ornament on the Tree.
Next meeting was Jan. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the 4-H Center with Allison, Andrew and Regan Heine as hosts.
Respectfully submitted: Tyler Hauck, Secretary