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Nine area leaders selected for honorary commanders program

Nine area civic and business leaders were inducted into the Ellsworth Honorary Commanders program during a special event March 8, 2018, at the Dakota’s Club at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. Pictured are (front row): Joshua Farley, Prudential Advisors representative; Marnie Herrmann, Security First Bank senior vice president; Melanie Barclay, Make-A-Wish of South Dakota regional director; Dennis Wagner, Box Elder Chamber of Commerce president; Danny Coon, City of Rapid City Operations Management engineer; Kadee Hande, Central States Fair & Black Hills Stock Show marketing manager; (back row) Col. John Edwards, 28th Bomb Wing commander; Shelley Christianson; Eric Christianson, Black Hills Community Bank financial representative; Craig Pfeifle, Seventh Circuit Court presiding judge; Terree Matson-McCoy, VRC Metal Systems chief operating officer; and Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, 28th BW command chief master sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Nine area business and civic leaders were inducted into the Ellsworth Honorary Commanders program during a special event March 8 at the Dakota’s Club.

Col. John Edwards, the 28th Bomb Wing commander, welcomed the new members handpicked to participate in the program and reminded them to make the most of the experience.

“I encourage you to learn from each other, partner together, and also to have fun,” Edwards said. “Learn from the previous honorary commanders, such as Jim [White] and Jeff [Carsrud], who were great honorary commanders and continue to serve as mentors for the program.”

He added that the base has a great partnership with the Black Hills community thanks to programs like the Ellsworth Honorary Commanders program, designed to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with community leaders to foster a better understanding of the Air Force through effective communication, education and interaction.

Individuals inducted into the program include:
-- Melanie Barclay, Make-A-Wish of South Dakota regional director
-- Eric Christianson, Black Hills Community Bank financial representative
-- Danny Coon, City of Rapid City Operations Management engineer
-- Joshua Farley, Prudential Advisors representative
-- Kadee Hande, Central States Fair & Black Hills Stock Show marketing manager
-- Marnie Herrmann, Security First Bank senior vice president
-- Terree Matson-McCoy, VRC Metal Systems chief operating officer
-- Craig Pfeifle, 7th Circuit Court presiding judge
-- Dennis Wagner, Box Elder Chamber of Commerce president

Participants are selected among elected officials, mayors, chamber of commerce members, local school principals, Military Affairs Committee members and others who, because of their position or influence in the community, have a positive impact on the public support for the base. A community leader is paired with a designated unit commander at squadron level and above for a single two-year term.

For more information about the Ellsworth Honorary Commanders program, call the 28th BW Public Affairs office at (605) 385-5056.

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