Local veteran garners BHSU scholarship
Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:31am admin
When everyone else heads for bunkers, we head for our guns,” Edoff said.
New Underwood native Steven Edoff was recently honored as one of four recipients of the Black Hills State University Jacket Ride Scholarship.
Funding for the scholarships was raised by 70 bikers registered for the ride during the 2017 Sturgis rally.
For Edoff, the scholarship comes as a welcome aid in his pursuit of an accounting degree from BHSU.
Edoff has followed a nontraditional path in his education. The son of Clint Edoff and Bobbi Edoff, Steven attended the New Underwood school for all 13 years, graduating in 2009. During his time in New Underwood, Edoff took active part in his family’s ranching enterprise.
Directly following Edoff’s graduation, his life took an unexpected turn when he discovered a tumor on his back and had to visit the Mayo Clinic to have it removed. When he returned to New Underwood, Steven returned to work on his grandfather’s ranch as soon as he had sufficiently healed. One day, Edoff said, the idea struck him that he would like to do something different. That same day he traveled to Rapid City and spoke with an Army recruiter.
Having cleared his military physical, Edoff left for basic training in Fort Sill, Okla., in September 2010. Nine weeks later, with basic training finished, Edoff transferred to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Nine months later found another change for Edoff, as he married his high school sweetheart, Michelle Selchert, who had graduated in May 2010. Five months later, and with the couple’s first child on the way, Edoff deployed to Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, Edoff was a cannon crew member. “We shot big guns,” Edoff said.
Stationed about three miles from the Pakistani border, Edoff and his company faced enemy fire nearly every day. At first, it was disconcerting, but, by the time they returned home eight months later, it had become a matter of course.
Edoff’s role was to man a cannon to provide cover for infantrymen. This meant having a different battle tactic than what most of the other soldiers had. “When everyone else heads for bunkers, we head for our guns,” Edoff said.
Edoff’s deployment ended at the end of November 2012. Though he was not home in time for Thanksgiving, he did make it home in time to spend Christmas with Michelle and their infant son, James, who had been born fewer than two months after Edoff deployed.
Edoff remained in the Army for another year, finishing in January 2014. If he were to re-enlist with the Army, he would have been facing another deployment in March 2014. Edoff and his wife were anticipating the arrival of their second child in April, and Edoff did not want to miss this moment again.
Out of the Army, Edoff took the advice of his father-in-law and joined the National Guard. He found the focus and community of the Guard to be much more suited to him than the Army. Still, he was not certain the direction in which he wanted to take his life from that point. A friend mentioned the possibility of Edoff pursuing a college education, something that had not occurred to Edoff prior to the suggestion.
Through the GI Bill, Edoff was guaranteed to have his college financed by the military for 36 months. Edoff began classes through BHSU at the University Center in Rapid City. His intent was to work toward banking by earning a degree in economics and finance.
As his classes progressed, though, Edoff caught a new vision for his professional life. One of his professors opened the world of accounting to Edoff, and he began to see the possibility of merging his professional life with the world of agriculture that he already knew. “I didn’t know you could be just a farm/ranch accountant,” Edoff said.
Edoff’s GI Bill financing will end with the end of this semester. Edoff, who works full time at Camp Rapid in addition to taking both online and in class courses, was both surprised and grateful, then, when he received an email from BHSU saying that he had been selected as a recipient of a $500 scholarship. If he were to attend the motorcycle ride and the short ceremony that accompanied it, Edoff was told there was a chance more money could be raised to go toward the scholarship.
Edoff, joined by his wife, their five-year-old son, three year-old-daughter, and newborn son, attended the ride. Word came that enough money had been raised to increase the scholarship to $1,000. Then, a plastic surgeon from California, recognizing Edoff’s potential, opted to add his own $1,000 to the scholarship on the spot.
Because Edoff is balancing school, work, family and ranching, he still has several years of coursework ahead of him. The scholarships he accrued during the Jacket Ride will enable him to continue to work toward either his CPA certification or a position as a commissioned officer.