2017 Gala Poster-1.jpg

Event: Social / Dinner / Silent & Live Auction / Guest Speakers / Live Music by The Starfellows

MC - Dr. Julie Ertz

MAIN Speakers - Samuel McCue Staff Sergeant, USMC 2004-2014 | MASTER SERGEANT AMANDA L. MCDOWELL USAF

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

Date: Saturday - 21 October 2017

Time: Doors open at 5PM

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

Tickets: $35


25 SEP 2017

RE: Gallantly Forward - 2017 Gala / 21 October - Rushmore Plaza Center / Rapid City, SD

Dear Patriots: 

We invite you to our annual ‘Gallantly Forward Gala’ in support of Veterans on Saturday, 21 October 2017. Help us raise awareness about the issues facing our warriors: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), veteran suicide, homelessness, and the effects they have on veterans and their families who battle these demons.  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.  Business evening attire is recommended, but not required.

The gala event which will feature a social hour, dinner, guest speakers, silent/live auction and live music.  The event’s main speakers are former Staff Sergeant Samuel McCue, United States Marine Corps along with Master Sergeant Amanda McDowell, United States Air Force.  The Master of Ceremonies (MC) will be Dr. Julie Ertz, and opening ceremonies covered with engaging music from The Starfellows, 2 brothers, 1 piano.   

Founded in 2012, SCLDF 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 the event, we ask that you consider sponsoring a veteran in your stead or donate an item for the silent/live auction.  All donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.  All of our staff volunteer their time; we have no employees.  The SCLDF is proud to provide veterans with advocacy, resourcing, and outlets to problem-solving; financial assistance is just a part of what we offer to veterans and their families.

Why do we advocate for our veterans?  Present day soldiers are likely to face multiple deployments throughout their military careers.  While on deployments, soldiers have an overall mission; soldiers feel united and develop a sense of duty and camaraderie.  However, coming home does not always mean peace, but often reveals confusion, turmoil, anger, depression and isolation.  An estimated 20+ veterans and 1 active duty soldier succumb to suicide every day.

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 and our veterans' families understand that coming home does not mean the war has ended; it’s our responsibility as a community to support our warriors and 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 / jerry@sergeantderrfoundation.org
  • Haley A. Derr @ 605.209.2308 /  haley@sergeantderrfoundation.org
  • Josephine M. Dirksen @ 605.391.6983 /josephine@sergeantderrfoundation.org
  • Wyatt W. Derr @ 605.209.6067 / wyatt@sergeantderrfoundation.org
  • Theresa Derr @ 605.391.8733
  • Karen Henman @ 303.775.4980
  • Tickets can be purchased online at: www.sergeantderrfoundation.org or give us a call.


Main SpeakerS

We are proud to have Samuel McCue Staff Sergeant, USMC
|2004-2014| as a speaker at our Gala. 

Multiple deployments

Samuel McCue
Staff Sergeant, USMC

Samuel McCue enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 2004 and reported to MCRD San Diego for recruit training in June 2004. He was assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, and upon graduation he was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class for attaining the company high PFT.

In October 2004, PFC McCue reported to the School of Infantry – West, Camp Pendleton, California where he was assigned to Delta Company, Infantry Training Battalion. Upon graduation, he received the military occupation specialty of 0331 Machine Gunner.

In January 2005, PFC McCue reported to 3rd Battalion 7th Marines, where he was assigned to Weapons Company, Combined Anti-Armor Team Red. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in May 2005, and in September 2005 he deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06 where he performed his duties as a Gunner. After returning from deployment, Lance Corporal McCue would attend Machine Gun Leader’s Course, and later be meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal in December 2006. In April 2007, Corporal McCue deployed for the second time to Ramadi, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08, this time performing his duties as a Vehicle Commander, Team Leader, and Section Leader. Upon returning from deployment, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and subsequently received orders to attend Marine Combat Instructors Course in Camp Pendleton, California. 

Upon completion of Combat Instructors Course, he was assigned to Echo Company, Infantry Training Battalion. While there he would instruct five cycles where he performed his duties as a Squad Instructor, Machine Gun Instructor, and Platoon Sergeant, and later be named the Infantry Training Battalion Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. In February of 2010, he was assigned to Headquarters and Instructor Company where he served a member of the 0331 Machine Gun Instructor Group, responsible for the testing, evaluation, and coordination of all live-fire exercises for 0331 students prior to their assignment to operational units.

In January 2011, he was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and in July 2011, upon completion of his tour as a Combat Instructor, Staff Sergeant McCue reported to 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, Camp Pendleton, California where he was assigned to Weapons Company. While there he performed his duties as a Section Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and Platoon Commander, and in June 2012 he deployed in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Tortuga. After returning from deployment, Staff Sergeant McCue would attend the Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor Course, where he graduated as a Black Belt, 1st Degree Instructor and was named the Gung-Ho recipient. He was subsequently assigned to Golf Company, where he would perform his duties as a Platoon Commander prior to voluntarily separating from active duty in August 2014. 

His personal decorations included the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ 3 Gold Stars in lieu of 4th award and Combat Action Ribbon.

Since separating from active duty, he earned his B.S. in Sports and Health Sciences from American Military University. 

He has been married to his beautiful wife, Brett for nearly 10 years, and has four daughters, Ashlynn, Harper, Everly, and Kordelle.

We are proud to have Master Sergeant Amanda L. McDowell as a speaker at our Gala. 

Multiple deployments

Amanda McDowell
Master Sergeant, USAF

Master Sergeant Amanda L. McDowell (Amiotte) is the Superintendent, Deployment & Distribution Flight. The flight provides comprehensive transportation planning and operations support at Offutt. The flight handles wing passenger movement, cargo processing, aircrew transportation support, and personal property (household goods) shipments and deliveries. Additionally, the flight is responsible to execute installation deployment command and control through the Installation Deployment Officer (IDO).

Sergeant McDowell was raised in Piedmont, South Dakota and enlisted in August 2001. Upon graduating from Basic Military Training, she attended the Vehicle Operations Apprentice Course at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. 

During her first assignment to Offutt AFB, NE, Senior Airman Amiotte was hand selected to run the transportation section in the 55 Mobile Command and Control Squadron. Next, Sergeant McDowell was assigned to MacDill AFB, FL, where she managed the base vehicle licensing program before transitioning to the squadron’s Unit Deployment Office. While assigned to MacDill, she deployed twice in support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The first as a Combat Truck Driver and Detainee Operations Team Lead, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula. The second as a Convoy Commander in support of Operation New Dawn. 

Following her tour as Convoy Commander, she was assigned to McConnell AFB, KS. She continued her leadership skills as the Vehicle Control Center Supervisor and later worked in the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. From McConnell, she deployed to Qatar as the led Vehicle Operations Dispatcher. Sergeant McDowell then became the Director, Air Force Master Resilience assigned to the Directorate of Services, Air Force preforming duties at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. She led a team of Developmental Special Duty Airman and Family Readiness Specialists in the execution of the Air Force Director of Services, Master Resilience Trainer Course. 

Master Sergeant McDowell is presently serving at Offutt Air Force Base. 

2005 Airman Leadership School, Offutt AFB, NE
2009 Associate in Applied Science, Transpiration Management, Community College of the Air Force
2011 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education, Joint Forces Staff College
2012 Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Sheppard AFB, TX
2013 Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Course 14, Air University
2015 Associate in Applied Science, Instructor of Technology and Military Science, Community College of the Air Force
2016 Associate in Applied Science, Human Services, Community College of the Air Force
2017 Bachelor of Science, Psychology, Southwestern College, KS

1. December 2001-October 2003, Vehicle Dispatcher/Operator, 55th Trans, Offutt AFB, NE
2. October 2003-October 2006, Unit Deployment Manger/Vehicle Trainer, 55th MCCS, Offutt AFB, NE
3. October 2006-Januray 2007, 55th Wing Protocol, Offutt AFB, NE  
4. January 2007- May 2010, NCOIC, Operator Records and Licensing, 6th LRS, MacDill AFB, FL
5. June 2010-Febraury 2012, Unit Deployment Manger, 6th LRS, MacDill AFB, FL
6. February 2012-July 2014, NCOIC, VOCC Support, 22nd LRS, McConnell AFB, KS
7. July 2014-Januray 2015, Executive of the Commander, 22nd LRS, McConnell AFB, KS
8. January 2015- May 2017, Director, Air Force Resilience Training, 423d Mobility Training Squadron, JB MDL, NJ
9. May 2017- Present, Superintendent, Deployment & Distribution Flight, 55th LRS, Offutt AFB, NE 

Meritorious Service Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Army Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Airman First Class, 12 October 2001
Senior Airman, 12 August 2003
Staff Sergeant, 1 June 2005
Technical Sergeant, 30 June 2005
Master Sergeant, 1 October 2015

Live Music