Opbrock to speak at Memorial Day program Monday morning, May 26
On Monday, May 26, a Memorial Day program sponsored by the Ralph Leui Post 135 American Legion and the Winston Toomey Post 8530 Veterans of Foreign Wars will be held to honor those who have died in service to our country along with active duty military and veterans.
The Avenue of Flags will be raised at 8 a.m. at the Potter County Courthouse in Gettysburg. The program will begin at 10 a.m. at the American Legion Community Building with Gene Opbrock as the speaker.
Opbrock is the director of the SD American Legion Boys State Program. He is a graduate of Fairfax High School, Fairfax SD.
He joined Detachment 1, 200th Engineer Company SD Army National Guard in 1973 while still in high school and has special training operating Military Heavy Equipment.
He was hired as full time Training NCO at 200th Engineer Company, located in Chamberlain SD in April 1984.
During this time Sgt. Opbrock was instrumental in bringing the first Cold Weather Bridge and Raft training to South Dakota. This training involved cutting ice lanes in the frozen Missouri River at Chamberlain to enable bridge and rafting operations. Sgt. Opbrock was also very involved with Operation Team Spirit, which was a Joint Combined Force Operation in South Korea. This was the first time a National Guard Unit would successfully transport all equipment and personnel to an overseas location, provide engineer support for units of all branches of the military both U.S and South Korean, and transport all equipment back to the home unit. The 200th Engineer Company received the Superior Unit Award for their participation in the 1988 Team Spirit Operation.
In 1995 he took a position as Recruiting and Retention NCO and was stationed in Wagner, SD. Sergeant First Class Opbrock provided support to 14 schools in his area. In 2000 SFC Opbroek was honored to be the National Guard Bureau Chiefs Fifty recipient for the most enlistments for South Dakota in a one year time frame.
In 2004 Master Sergeant Opbrock was selected as Area NCOIC for the Southeast Recruiting Team.
Master Sergeant Opbrock retired in November of 2009 with 36 years of service 4 Military Occupational Specialties. He has received many awards for his exemplary United States military service.
Larry Madsen of the American Legion will serve as Master of Ceremonies with VFW Commander Lonnie Potts giving the introduction. The Reverend Jeff Adel will give the Invocation and Benediction. The National Anthem will be presented by a quartet made of Jessica W. Larson, Jim Cronin, Sarah Sue Tanner, and Doug Larson, and a musical number “We Are America” will be presented by a chorus from the fifth grade class. “In Flanders Field” will be read by Austin Dutenhoeffer, “I Am Your Flag” will be read by Katrina Smith, and Mckaivry Schatz will present her Americanism essay. VFW Auxiliary president Rosaland Eldeen will present “Gold Star Mothers.” Also on hand will be American Legion Commander Art Beringer and Auxiliary president Marty Bliese.
The American Legion Auxiliary and junior leaders will be selling poppies at the Memorial Day service.
Following the program on Monday morning, honoring the dead and a 21 gun salute will be observed at the Avenue of Flags led by the American Legion and VFW Color Guard.