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Service held for deploying science teacher

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 17th, 2013

Colman-Egan Principal Scott Hemmer explains to the crowd the meaning of the Blue Star Banner as school board member Lloyd Gundvaldson displays it. McKenney (second from the right) is joined at the service by his father Larry and his mother Carol.

The Colman-Egan school, staff, students and community gathered together last Tuesday morning to honor their science teacher, Troy McKenney, who has been deployed to Afghanistan earlier this week with the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 1742nd Transportation Company.

The service included a heartwarming video made by the McKenney’s students and co-workers, giving him well wishes and friendly reminders of just how much he will be missed while he is gone for the next 12 months.

Mr. McKenney’s parents, Larry and Carol, were in attendance and were given the Blue Star Service Banner by the school. The banner is given to immediate family members of a person serving in the armed forces during a period of war for them to hang in their window or on their door for all to see.

McKenney’s fellow facility and staff members were all given yellow ribbons with his name printed on them to place on their doors around the school. They also created a T-shirt in his honor that are for sale at the school; he was also given one of the shirts as a reminder of all the people at the school who will be thinking about him while he is away. The money raised on the T-Shirts will be used to purchase care packages to send to him during his time in Afghanistan.

The whole service meant a lot to McKenney, and he is excited to get back to teaching.

“It was a total surprise to me, and having my parents there made that event all the more special to me. While I was talking in front of everyone, it was an amazing feeling talking to an entire community that I have many fond memories in a short amount of time. I was afraid I would not find another teaching position, and what a blessing it has been to be employed at the C - E School,” McKenney said. “So a big thank you to the administration for hiring me, the staff has been wonderful and so friendly towards me from day one. Most importantly, the students, thank you so much for your kindness expressed in the cards and gifts presented to me. As I depart and fulfill my oath and duty, students please fulfill the duty to yourselves, and that is to become the best possible "you," that you can. Whether it is the Hawk Nation, or the Super School, I have so many precious memories, but not nearly as precious as the people within it. Thank you, I look forward to returning to the district, and the title C - E Science Teacher,” he added.

McKenney and the 1742nd are scheduled to be overseas until around November of next year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom by providing transportation of both dry and refrigerated containerized cargo, general non-containerized cargo and bulk water and fuel products.

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