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Gallantly Forward Gala - 2016

  • Rushmore Plaza Civic Center 444 N Mount Rushmore Road Rapid City, SD, 57701 United States (map)


MC - Dr. Julie Ertz

Subject: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Veteran Suicide

MAIN SPEAKER: Former U.S. Army Captain Neil Fotre

Date: Saturday - 22 October 2016

Time: Doors open at 5PM

Location: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center / LaCroix Hall -  Rapid City, SD 57701

Tickets: $35

Rapid City, SD-  22 OCT2016…..Get it on your mind

RE: Gallantly Forward - 2016 Gala / 22 October - Rushmore Plaza Center - Rapid City, SD

Dear Patriots: 

We invite you to our annual ‘Gallantly Forward Gala’ in support of Veterans on Saturday, 22 October 2016. Help us raise awareness about the issues facing our warriors: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), veteran suicide, homelessness, multiple deployments and the effect they have on our veterans and their families.  Veterans from the Black Hills area will be in attendance and your presence and community support will be met with much respect.  

The gala fundraiser will be held at The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center - LaCroix Hall, Rapid City, SD. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. with event ceremonies kicking off at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance. The gala event will feature a social hour, dinner, a silent/live auction and live music. Orion Potter will open the evening with his vocal talents and Wyoming based musician Mark Williams will complement the evening with his personal sound of blues, gospel and country rock.  A business evening attire is recommended but not required. 

Dr. Julie Ertz will MC the evening and former U.S. Army Captain Neil W. Fotre is the night’s main speaker.    Captain Fotre deployed to Afghanistan with SGT Derr and will share his personal experiences about making the transition from the battlefield to civilian life. 

Our 2015 Gala was attended by nearly 400 patriotic community members.   All of our staff volunteer their time; we have no employees.  Financial assistance is just part of what we offer our veterans and their families. Founded in 2012, Sergeant Colton Levi Derr Foundation is steadfast in our three fold mission: Veteran advocacy, assistance and public awareness of the battles our heroes face when they come home. 

If you can’t attend our event, we ask that you consider sponsoring a veteran in your stead. We are also seeking donated items for our silent/live auction.  All donations are tax deductible. 

Why do we advocate for our veterans? Deployments find mission, duty and camaraderie.  Coming home does not always mean peace, but often reveals confusion, turmoil, anger, depression and isolation.  To end the pain; an estimated 20+ veterans and 1 active duty soldier succumb to suicide everyday.

Sergeant Colton Levi Derr suffered with PTSD following his combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In support of American’s War on Terror during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring freedom, SGT Derr, U.S. Army 1st Calvary Division completed over 500 combat missions.  Our hero succumbed to suicide on 28 APR 12 following his Afghanistan mission. 

We honor Colton by assisting his fellow veterans and their families and respectfully ask that you become involved in this battle.  It’s imperative that the public, decision makers, and our veterans' families understand that coming home may not mean the war has ended.   It’s our responsibility as a community to support our warriors and their families who have sacrificed so much for us.  Your assistance is greatly appreciated. 

Very respectfully, 

Haley A. Derr, President 


Please contact us to donate auction items or purchase tickets: 

  • Jerry W. Derr @ 605.545.2505 /
  • Haley Derr @ 605.209.2308 /
  • Josephine Dirksen @ 605.391.6983 /
  • Theresa Derr @ 605.391.8733