Rep. Dusty Johnson presents Congressional Bronze Medal to Aberdeen Central senior

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 5:26 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - An Aberdeen student has now received a visit from two members of U.S. Congress during his senior year.

Between his visits to Miller and Groton to speak with students, Representative Dusty Johnson stopped at Aberdeen Central High School on Wednesday to present a Congressional Bronze Medal to Dustin Hermansen.

For Rep. Johnson, this was his first time presenting a Congressional Medal.

”The Congressional Bronze Medal is not easy to get. It really requires that a student dedicate themselves to 100 hours of community service, 50 hours of physical improvement, 50 hours of personal development, and then develop their own exploration path. It really requires a lot of initiative and a lot of drive. I have never seen a Congressional Bronze Medal before, so it was an honor for me to be able to present one to Dustin today,” said Rep. Johnson.

Hermansen was also given a surprise visit by Senator Mike Rounds in November when he received a principal nomination to the Air Force Academy.

After putting in the work to receive the medal, Hermansen said it was even more rewarding to be presented the award by Rep. Johnson.

”It’s cool to be the one person that he comes to Aberdeen for and get the medal that I’m being honored for. That’s a very cool experience,” said Hermansen.

Hermansen has served as a legislative page in Pierre and at the U.S. capitol, represented South Dakota at Boys Nation, and recently had to miss winning the South Dakota state speech and debate championship title with his team to attend the U.S. Senate Youth Program on Capitol Hill. On top of all those accomplishments, Hermansen is also an athlete and participates in football and track and field.

Rep. Johnson said Hermansen is a role model not just for other students, but for every South Dakotan.

”I always tell the other 434 member of the House that we’ve got the best kids in South Dakota. Now, I’ve got one more piece of evidence to prove my point,” said Rep. Johnson.

For Hermansen, his teachers motivate him the most to be successful, particularly, his parents.

”Having my parents both be teachers in the school district my whole life, I’ve really been able to interact with the teachers in the Aberdeen Public School District. My parents are huge mentors. They taught me from when I was really little that if you want to accomplish something, you have to put the work in,” said Hermansen.

Hermansen said that he plans to join the U.S. Air Force Academy after graduation. He also will shoot for the Silver and Gold Congressional Medals as well.