“You are my heroes.” Tapio Honors Gold Star Mom and Purple Heart Recipient

From the floor of the South Dakota Senate, Senator Neal Tapio of Watertown took time to acknowledge and honor two veterans of the global ‘War on Terrorism,’ who know exactly what it means to sacrifice for their nation.

Gold Star Mother Christine Bestgen lost her son, Army SPC Dennis Jensen in a bridging accident in Iraq.

Army Corporal Branden Stackenwalt served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan before being critically injured when his Humvee was hit by an IED, or improvised explosive device on September 20, 2009.  Stackenwalt required more than a dozen surgeries and nearly a year of physical therapy, including stints at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland an advanced therapeutic hospital in Colorado before returning home to Rapid City.

Republican Congressional Candidate, Neal Tapio honored Bestgen and Stackenwalt during a media conference Wednesday at the state capitol in Pierre.

“South Dakota has one of the highest rates of military service per capita in the nation.  These are just two of the thousands of remarkable South Dakota citizens who have seen their lives changed in an instant by their willingness to answer the call to military service,”  Tapio said.

“Tens of thousands of patriotic volunteers serve their country out of selfless devotion to the nation they love and to protect the rights and freedoms we hold dear,” Tapio said.

“It is important for us to articulate the mission for which they sacrificed their lives.  They are engaged in a global war on terrorism and the enemy are Islamic extremists who believe in the full implementation of Islamic law, known as Sharia Law,” Tapio said.

“To deny this basic truth, is an insult to every man, woman and family member who have given their lives, sacrificed their limbs, their life’s blood and even their mental and emotional wellbeing.”