The Pennington County Sheriff's Office unveiled its new Honor Guard this month.
Members of the unit include its Commander, Matthew Jackson (Patrol), Wade Anderson, Cory Dressler, Chris Daniel, Jon McNelley, and Natalie Morem (Correctional Officers/Jail), Gretchen Sitzes (Correctional Officer, Juvenile Services Center), Ryan Cook (Investigations) and Eric Petersen (Transport).
Their reasons for volunteering were as numerous as their job duties.
Sitzes remembers watching the funerals of fallen RCPD officers. The Rapid City Honor Guard was "awesome" and she wanted to represent the Sheriff's Office in such an "honorable way." Matthew Jackson commented that the Sheriff's Office has "a long tradition of excellence and professionalism, and the Honor Guard will add to that tradition with pomp and circumstance."
Though funeral details are the primary function of an honor guard, there is much to train for. Each member must learn drill and ceremony, rifle drills, funeral and color guard procedures. The Honor Guard spent last month training at Ellsworth Air Force Base and will continue to perfect their maneuvers in the coming months.
The Honor Guard will be called upon to represent the Sheriff's Office in ceremonial functions. Those events have traditionally been funerals, parades, community functions or sporting events.