The Scouting Report: A weekly digest
Explosion fallout, honoring Huron native who was killed in Iraq, ending dog meat, feuding lawmakers
An explosion at the Ringneck Energy Plant in Onida forced serious personnel and policy changes.
The Dakota Scout was first to report that the cause of a July explosion, which crippled the Sully County plant, was an effort by staff on hand to hastily restart plant operations.
According to Walt Wendland, CEO of Ringneck, a handful of employees were let go in light of the incident, and that the company has updated its policies as well. Specifically, a new general manager was brought on in response.
The plant returned to full production in October.
“We have stepped up our training efforts, a lot of things have changed,” Wendland said. “We recognize there was some human error, and we took some disciplinary action.”
According to a report filed by the Department of Public Safety, the cause of the fire was determined to be ethanol vapors escaping a holding tank – they would ultimately meet an ignition source.
Army 1st Lt. Thomas Michael Martin was born in Huron on Oct. 10, 1980. He was a fifth-generation Beadle County resident whose great-great-grandfather established a homestead northeast of Huron in the 1880s.
Martin left Huron as a young boy because his parents were on active duty in the military. He graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas, and promptly enlisted in the Army in 1998. He ended up earning his commission as an officer through West Point.
He graduated from Airborne school and then Ranger school before joining an Army sniper platoon. On Oct. 14, 2007, he was on patrol in Iraq when his unit took enemy fire. Martin was hit by two rounds and killed in action. He was buried at West Point National Cemetery.
Now Sen. Mike Rounds is sponsoring a bill to name the Huron Post Office the “First Lieutenant Thomas Michael Martin Post Office Building.” In a release announcing the legislation, Rounds called Martin “the best of our country.”
“He gave his life to defend the freedoms we enjoy in America,” Rounds said. “The First Lieutenant Thomas Michael Martin Post Office will stand as an important reminder of him, and others who made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of the American people. Though we will never be able to repay the debt we owe 1st Lt. Martin, this renaming is one way to honor and remember his life of sacrifice and service.”
The honor is supported by Martin’s family and the Huron Chamber of Commerce.