By Nick Pedley
News Editor 

Service and sacrifice

Gold Star mother addresses Veterans Day crowd in Hartley


November 18, 2021


H-M-S senior Grace Dalen shakes the hand of Vietnam War veteran Cliff Ripke following the conclusion of Thursday's program.

Elaine Leusink can't forget every detail that happened on May 22, 2006 no matter how hard she tries.

"Our family lives with this loss every single day," she told a gym full of students, veterans and other guests during a community Veterans Day program at Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn. "There's a constant hole in my heart, and days like today are hard."

Leusink, of Sioux Center, holds many titles, the most profound of which is Gold Star Mother. She lost her son, Lance Cpl. William J. (BJ) Leusink, during an insurgent attack in Iraq 15 years ago, and the pain of her son's sacrifice still lingers in...

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