Almost a century after his death, a Lake Preston resident is back home.

“A real great commitment to the military to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind and identify them so we can continue to honor them.  It’s impressive, especially this Easter season,” says South Dakota Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels.

Navy Water Tender 2nd Class Porter L. Rich was born in Lake Preston, South Dakota.

He was on the SS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attacks, and died at the age of 27.

His remains were unidentified for 75 years and was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

In 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the analysis of the unidentified remains of those victims on the Oklahoma to be investigated further.

Scientists were able to identify Rich’s remains and bring him back to Lake Preston.

“The men and women that were killed in pearl harbor that sacrificed everything to make sure that we have the opportunity to raise our children and grandchildren in freedom.  So I’m just glad i could be here and wanted his family to know how much we appreciate them,” Representative Kristi Noem tells us.

Hundreds of navy sailors, Lake Preston community members including Porter Rich’s family and government officials gathered at Lake Preston High School to pay their respects to Rich and his family.

Lieutenant Governor Michels says prayers need to be sent for the military currently serving our country.

“We have some great heroes in South Dakota and we’re just recognizing one of them now.  We have many heroes that are alive today, serving us in the far east in our military that our South Dakotans.  our air and army guard individuals, daily we need to pray for them,” says Lieutenant Governor Michels.

After the funeral service, 2nd class Porter Rich was buried at Lake Preston Cemetery.

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