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Former Bobcat recognized for 20 years of federal service

November 17, 2017 GMT

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – A 1986 Hemingford High School graduate was recently recognized for 20 years of federal service as an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force and now as a civilian government employee at the world’s largest B-1 combat wing.

Steve Merrill, community engagement director for the 28th Bomb Wing, was recently presented a certificate and silver pin in recognition of his service during a special ceremony at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

“We are blessed to have Steve on our team,” said Col. John Edwards, commander of the 28th BW who presented Merrill with the award. “His stellar work, strong relationships with community leaders, and commitment to our base and the Air Force mission have made our community engagement program the model for all bases in the command.”

Merrill enlisted in the Air Force in December 1989 and completed advanced training to be a public affairs specialist after completing basic training. He served on active duty for 13 years at several bases including Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii and at deployed locations during his career as a photojournalist covering operations being conducted by the Air Force in support of Department of Defense taskings. He separated from the military to work for the largest nonprofit agency in western South Dakota in 2003, and was then selected for his current role six years later.

“I have the best job in Air Force,” said Merrill, a 1986 graduate of Hemingford High School. “Advocating for and promoting the work our Airmen are doing non-stop around the globe is simply more than I could have ever thought possible. It is an honor to be a member of the greatest team on the planet.”

Merrill credits his wife, Dayna, and his brothers – James, Matthew and Joshua – for successfully completing 20 years of service.

“My wife is the very reason I have been able to do what I’ve done,” he said. “She has been with me every step of the way. And the unwavering support I receive from my brothers and their families have made all of the difference in the world.”