Called to Serve

Rep. Dusty Johnson

Many may not know that Members of Congress are able to nominate students to our nation’s military academies. It’s a real opportunity to ensure South Dakota values help shape military decisions – and it’s also a real opportunity to make sure the military looks like the American people it’s responsible to defend.

Saying it is an honor to nominate students from across our great state to serve our nation doesn’t do the moment justice. These are not ordinary high school graduates. Some grew up knowing they were interested in attending an academy, some grew up in a family with a long line of military service and some have no family military history at all. But what they do have in common is a good moral character, their commitment to our nation’s defense and selfless bravery and courage. They all feel called to serve their country.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to organize a virtual academy reception for some of the students my office nominated. June is quite a transition month for these soon-to-be Cadets and Midshipmen. These students will head to their respective academies in late June and early July – surrendering civilian clothing and belongings (even their cell phones!) – and begin their military training. You can imagine this is also a transition month for their parents as well – who may only speak with their son or daughter three times throughout the summer. Very different than a traditional college drop-off.

It’s hard from Day One for a reason. It’s hard because these Cadets and Midshipmen will commission as military officers at graduation. It’s hard because when called to lead soldiers, airmen, sailors, or Marines, these young Americans will rely on the skills and training gained from experience at the academies. It’s hard because the United States is home to the mightiest military in the world, due in no small part to the dedicated young men and women who serve.

While we wish the 2024 service academy class godspeed, we also look ahead to the next round of nominations. Our office is currently accepting applications for nominations to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy until Friday, October 30. Visit my website or call one of my offices if you are interested in learning more about the nomination process.

I look at my three sons and I don’t know what the future has in store for them. I don’t know if they’ll choose to serve in the military like their grandfather, if they’ll choose a liberal arts degree, or if they’ll choose to pursue a technical trade. What I do know is my conversations with these academy candidates has helped shape who I want to be as a parent and what values I want to instill in my children as they grow older.

The Colome school had he winning cake

Winner Advocate Photo
A cake decorating contest was held to honor Dan Bechtold’s 50 years at the Winner Advocate. The Colome school had he winning cake and it was decorated by Julie Rohde and Bobbi Viedt. Along with cake came a Colome football helmet with a congratulations message. Pictured are Bechtold, left and Mike Scott, executive director of the Winner Area Chamber of Commerce. There were 10 cakes entered in the contest.

Exclusive, One Night Only Garth Brooks Concert Set For 300 Drive-In Theaters Across North America; Winner Drive In to show concert

Submitted Photo
Garth Brooks will present a concert event at 300 drive in theaters across North America on June 27. The concert will be shown at the Winner Drive In Theater.

Garth Brooks is set for a concert event at 300 drive-in theaters across North America, only on June 27. Winner will be fortunate to have this concert as it will be shown at the Winner Drive In Theater.

The concert will be created exclusively for this event, making this a once in a lifetime experience. The concert will be the largest ever one-night show to play at outdoor theaters across the United States and Canada.

The event will be produced by Encore Live, a leading event production company.

“I am so excited to get to play again. I have missed it so much and want to get back to it,” said Brooks. “This drive-in concert allows us all to get back to playing live music without the uncertainty of what would be the result to us as a community. This is old school, new school, and perfect for the time we are in.”

“Families need safe entertainment options that they can enjoy together this summer,” said Encore Live Founder and CEO Walter Kinzie. “We’re excited to partner with Garth, who’s already done so much to help the entertainment industry during these tough times, to provide a truly unique and incredible concert that will do a whole lot of good for local businesses and communities.”

Tickets will be on sale Friday, June 19 at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM CT/ 10:00 AM MT / 9:00 AM PT. They will be on sale at There, you will also be able to review the drive-in theaters available in your area. Tickets are general admission and of limited availability. They will cost $100, all-inclusive. Each ticket will admit one passenger car/truck. The event will take place rain or shine and will begin at dusk.

Encore Live has developed a reputation as one of the most innovative event production companies in the country. In the absence of traditional live events, the company reached exclusive agreements with drive-in theater owners across North America to safely bring fans this first-of-its-kind concert on a massive scale.

The show will adhere to guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as all state and local health mandates. Encore Live has partnered with leading health experts to establish procedures for staff and fans. These will include maintaining at least six feet of space between vehicles, the use of personal protective equipment by staff, leveraging contactless payment and ticketing systems, and limiting capacity in restrooms.

Guidelines around concessions will also be enforced to abide by individual state regulations.

Winner High School who took part in the academic banquet all four years

Dan Bechtold/Winner Advocate Photo
Seniors at Winner High School who took part in the academic banquet all four years received a plaque. Pictured in front from left are Saige Schuyler, Morgan Hammerbeck, Kenndal Turnquist and Isabelle Leyden. Middle row from left are Emmarie Kaiser, Addy Root, Kiersten Durrin, Kara Ewing and Ryder Mortenson. In back from left are Trevor Peters, Loren Moeller, Jacob Clay, Joren Bruun and Austin Bicek.