Last year Governor Kristi Noem started the Fallen Heros program. The mission of this program is to honor and remember the men and women who, by their selfless acts, lost their lives while fighting for our freedom.
The State Transportation Commission decided to honor South Dakota veterans who died in action by having bridges named after them. They contacted family members of these fallen soldiers asking them to select a bridge and dedication date for their loved ones.
Among the SD veterans honored was Sgt. 1st Class Richard Lee Schild who was killed December 4, 2005, following a detonation of a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq. Schild was serving with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery unit based out of Yankton.
Rich Schild worked as the Office Manager at Bon Homme Yankton Electric from 1994-2005.
The South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs hosted a State Bridge Dedication Ceremony to honor Richard Schild on September 12th in front of the Yankton County Court House.
Rich’s wife Kay Schild and their children Kolby and Keely selected the Highway 50 westbound bridge between Yankton and Vermillion because they thought it was the perfect location. Kay said, “When family members and friends come into Yankton they will be welcomed by the Rich Schild Memorial Bridge.”
“Whenever and wherever this nation has called, in times of darkness and danger, as well as in times of peace and prosperity, veterans have been there and have proudly carried the torch of liberty for all to see.” said Greg Whitlock, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Our fallen heroes are no longer with us, but their memory lives on in the hearts of their loved ones and our state,” said Whitlock. “Naming our South Dakota bridges in honor of our fallen will give us an opportunity of remembrance, reflection, and respect—for honoring the men and women who gave their lives in service to this nation. They cherished liberty and loved freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life.”