New 'South Dakota Salutes' kicks off with two-day event

Published: Sep. 26, 2016 at 9:50 PM CDT
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Hundreds of South Dakotas are coming together to show their appreciation for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line everyday to keep us safe, protecting our freedoms.

Some of those South Dakotans have created a group 'South Dakota Salutes' to help show that appreciation and raise money for families of fallen heroes. A premier two-day kickoff event started Monday.

"These men and women are very, very competitive. We thought, at Hunter's Point, we have a great facility they can let their competitive juices flow and have a great time," South Dakota Salutes Co-Chair Tony Bour said.

Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink is one of them.

"This is fantastic. We're having such a good time. My first time out here. I'm going to come back again," Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink said.

South Dakota Salutes is a statewide group of volunteers funded by sponsorship and private donations.

"Nationally, there hasn't totally been the respect for our law enforcement and first responders. That's not the South Dakota way. The South Dakota way is to think 'thank you' for the people who serve and protect us," Bour said.

"It's heartwarming to see the role out of support for law enforcement, first responders, military. It's a great event. Gives these officers a chance to take a break and recognize the fact there are people out there who really do salute and support them," Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.

Money raised has also started a scholarship fund for families of fallen heroes.

"There's really a void in south Dakota. That's for the families of fallen officers. This is the community showing further support, putting together a fund if something happens to someone, to help the family out," Attorney General Marty Jackley said.

"We hope it never happens but being prepared is better than not," Brink said.

But for now, this kickoff event at Hunter's Pointe Shooting Complex is just the beginning.

"We love what we're doing. We love the response. People coming out here are so thankful. We're thanking them and getting it in return. It's just awesome," Bour said. "It's not a one-year, one-time event. We're planning this for next year and the year after. We want it to grow."