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Local Couple Honored By Veterans Center
Posting Date: 05/24/2012

By John Taylor
Scott Ellestad, left, and Barbara Ellestad stand beside their military uniforms at the Mesquite Veterans Center, 840 W. Hafen Lane. Photo by John Taylor

Scott Ellestad, left, and Barbara Ellestad
stand beside their military uniforms at the
Mesquite Veterans Center, 840 W. Hafen Lane.
Photo by John Taylor

Serving in the Armed Forces certainly can be an adventure but for a local couple it was something more. In 1970, Scott Ellestad enlisted in the Air Force and, unbeknownst to him, in a few states away the following year the future Mrs. Ellestad, also joined the Air Force. It would be many years before the couple would meet and fall in love.

The Mesquite Veterans Center wanted to acknowledge the service of women veterans and sent out a request for former military women to donate uniforms to the center. Barbara Ellestad immediately answered the call as did former Marine Corps Corporal Jennifer Edmonds. Ellestad also mentioned her husband was a retired military veteran and would be proud to donate his uniform also to recall the sacrifices of married military couples.

“We want to honor the contributions of women in the military,” said Ken Maynard, Vice President of Mesquite Veterans Center. “Women are a very important part of the military as are military couples who through their efforts help make the Armed Forces the success that it is. We didn't want the veterans center to be just a boys club.”

Scott Ellestad served as a loadmaster working on the Air Force cargo planes while steadily moving up through the ranks and eventually becoming the Chief Loadmaster for the Military Airlift Command. At the same time, Barbara was enjoying her career in the military assigned to important administrative posts often handling classified information. Like Scott, the Air Force recognized her talent and they became one of their best and brightest non-commissioned officers.

As the years passed by, both of them were near the pinnacle of the careers and were offered the chance to attend the Senior Non-commissioned Officers Academy in Montgomery, Alabama. The school was reserved for very senior military personnel who were identified as having the potential to be important military leaders of the future. Both had achieved Senior Master Sergeant status with only one more promotion to go to attain the highest enlisted rank.

Scott and Barbara met at the prestigious Senior NCO Academy and only a week into

the school, they found they had something in common, they both loved golf. Their first date was playing golf together and something else happened, the spark of romance flickered. They had an attraction to each other but she was assigned to a Denver base while Scott was in St. Louis. It didn't take Scott long to realize she was an important part of his life and at Christmas, he gave her a ring and asked her to marry him. In January, they flew to beautiful Las Vegas to be married.

After more than 20 years of service, they both retired at the highest enlisted rank possible. First moving to Bozeman, Montana they stayed for seven years until the weather got too much for them and in 2001 they came to Mesquite. Why ? Warm weather and golf.

As Memorial Day arrives, it is time to remember the men and women who fight for peace so that others don't need to. Military personnel work for peace at home and abroad so we can live a better life. They endure the pain of separation and the strife of military life. Military couples like the Ellestads deserve our appreciation. There is possibly not a more admirable calling.

The uniforms on display in the Mesquite Veterans Center tell the stories of brave men and women who are willing to take the risk of being sent into harms way. The ribbons on their chest and the insignia on their sleeves tell of their devotion to serving proudly in the military.

Reaching the highest pinnacle of a career is accomplished by only a select few willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be the best in their chosen profession. Barbara and Scott Ellestad are two of those people. We are fortunate to have them as part of our community. Scott works at Wolf Creek Golf Course and Barbara is the editor and publisher of the highly successful Mesquite Citizen Journal. Next time you see them, say thanks. Their uniforms are on display at the Mesquite Veterans Center, 840 Hafen Lane.

 

Commentary
  • Posted Date: 05/25/2012
    I'm not gonna wait 'til the next time I see you to say thanks, Barb. I want to give you a big public "Thank You" right now. You have done and do more than you know to make this a better community and I love ya for doing it.
    By: Betty Haines
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  • Posted Date: 05/26/2012
    Miss you guys. Great to see you lookiing great. Hope we can get there soon.
    By: Connie Stoner
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  • Posted Date: 05/28/2012
    An excellent choice! Two perfect examples of Americans who don't stop serving their country, their community, and their fellow man just because they no longer wear the uniform. Congratulations to Scott and Barb, and to this community that is fortunate enough to have them in our midst.
    By: Morris Workman
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