Basin Electric member’s employee maintains lonely military gravesite

The following was published by RE Magazine on May 4, 2017. An excerpt is published here, with permission. Please visit RE Magazine’s website for the full story: ‘The patriotic thing to do’ West River Electric’s Willy Nohr minds the lonely gravesite of a fallen cavalryman, written by John Vanvig. West River Electric Association is a Class C member of Basin Electric.

West River Electric cavalry gravesite

West River Electric Member Services and Marketing Representative Willy Nohr raises a new flag at the gravesite of fallen cavalryman James King. (Photo by Adam Daigle)

Millions of Americans will spend Memorial Day remembering those who have died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. Memorial Day parades will feature marching units of military veterans, active-duty and reserve troops, and high school bands, while soldiers and civilians alike will gather for somber cemetery ceremonies to honor the fallen.

Out on Nemo Road, in the Black Hills National Forest, 17 miles or so northwest of Rapid City, SD, Willy Nohr might take a Memorial Day moment to remember a young man who died on a U.S. Cavalry mission there nearly a century and a half ago. But then, Nohr makes a point of keeping an eye year-round on James King’s lonely gravesite, often changing out the worn Stars and Stripes flying above the marker.

He’s been doing it for a few years now.

As a member services and marketing representative working out of the Rapid City office of West River Electric Association, based in Wall, Nohr spends a lot of time crisscrossing the ranch roads and county highways of the area. Those trips sometimes took him past King’s grave marker, and he’s felt a responsibility to remember the soldier who perished before South Dakota was a state.

“I figured there wasn’t anybody that knew the guy anymore,” he says. “And I figured it was the patriotic thing to do for him.” Keep reading…

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