Program Notes 50 Years Since JFK Dedicated Oahe Dam

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PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A program that was held on Friday morning to note the 50 year anniversary of the dedication of Oahe Dam drew at least 400 people. Karen Kern of the South Dakota Great Lakes Tourism Association says it was a great crowd at Friday morning’s commemoration-held outdoors between the Oahe Chapel and Oahe Visitor Center-near Oahe Dam. She says the event went off without a hitch.

Kern says the Friday ceremony helped to bring attention to the dam, the surrounding area and may result in more old pictures and other items from the early history of the dam coming forth

Friday’s ceremony was emceed by Laura Schoen Carbonneau with an invocation by Reverend Don Block. The Native American Drum Group-High Spirit Singers of Pierre-performed and Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill sang the National Anthem. Gill also commented during the program, saying that it’s hard to imagine Pierre/Fort Pierre without the Oahe Dam. She said the project brought roads, bridges, highways, people, and several changes and improvements to the area. Fort Pierre Mayor Sam Tidball spoke as well, saying that the dam has served the area well for 50 years and will continue to serve as well or better in the future. He applauded the dedication of the leaders and workers that made the dam possible and commended local Corps employees for their contributions to the project. Eric Stasch, Oahe Operations Project Manager said that Oahe Dam is a story of heroes. He expressed gratitude to the thousands who worked on the dam and said that it is a monument to their skill and vision. Jamie Damon, who as a fourth grade student, invited President John F. Kennedy to the dedication of the dam, talked during the ceremony about meeting JFK when he was here in 1962. Her father had been a bulldozer operator and worked on the dam. She recalled the excitement and preparations that were made for JFK’s visit. The one hour ceremony was followed by several other Oahe Dam related events, including tours of the power plant and intake structure and a fundraiser for flood victims at Oahe Marina.
(If you were not able to attend Friday’s ceremony and would like to listen to it, click on the link which was found on the homepage of our website on August 20, 2012).

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