Happiness is truly found in helping others   

When Lane resident Kyle Everson received his deployment orders just before Thanksgiving, his thoughts immediately turned toward his wife and two kids and the pressing need to, literally, put a roof over their heads.

Kyle and his wife Amy had purchased a Governor’s House earlier in the year, expecting delivery in the fall. Although it was scheduled to be delivered in October, due to Covid delays, it hadn’t yet arrived when Kyle received the call in November to serve at a classified location for six months with the South Dakota National Air Guard 114th Civil Engineer Squadron. 

Stress mounted as the Eversons awaited delivery of their home while preparing for Kyle’s absence. Finally, with 17 days until deployment, the house arrived and the Eversons went to work at a furious pace.

“It has been very stressful,” admits Amy, who has kept the home fires burning and cared for the couple’s two kids, four-year-old Rand and seven-year-old Quinn, during two previous deployments. 

Trying to outpace the looming deployment deadline, Everson had a hefty to-do list: enclose the roof over the mud room/laundry room addition, install flooring and trim, insulate the basement and paint — alongside all the odds and ends that go along with moving into a new house and preparing for the winter ahead. 

“I thought I could do it with the help of my brothers and dad,” said Kyle, who also serves on the board and is a member of Willman-Fee Post 14 in Springs.  

Knowing that his squadron brothers would jump at the chance to help him, Kyle was reluctant to reach out.  

“I didn’t want our project to take time away from them spending time with their families,” Kyle explained, pointing out that others from the unit are also being deployed. 

But on the Wednesday before he was to be deployed, Kyle said he looked around and realized there was no way he would make it.

“I sent a text on Wednesday and within a half hour, a dozen guys were ready to travel with their tools to Lane the next day,” Kyle said.  

Thirteen members of Kyle’s unit arrived the next day just three days before Kyle was scheduled to deploy. The predominant attitude of the group of volunteers was, ‘what can we do to help?’

And what better crew than a skilled construction battalion made up of plumbers, electricians and general contractors. 

“We are getting more out of this than Kyle, he isn’t the only one benefitting from this,” said Dan McNeil, 114th Civil Engineer Chief Enlisted Manager, who has 27 years under his belt in the unit. “We get so much satisfaction by helping him — and we know Kyle would be the first one to help any of us.” 

As Amy brought in lunch for the hard-working group, she paused to take in the buzz of activity before her. 

“I don’t think it’s set in that we are going to get this done,” she said. “We really have a small army here.”

Kyle calls the unit “a family in itself.” And members of the squadron echo his sentiment. 

“This squadron is unique, one of the tightest groups I’ve ever seen,” McNeil explained. “The camaraderie and mentorship keeps us strong and ready as a unit. Things like this make us even closer.”