Annual memorial service set near Tolley Saturday

Submitted Photo The Minot Air Force Base Honor Guard presents colors in front of the McKinney Cemetery Veterans Memorial during a previous memorial service at McKinney Cemetery near Tolley.

TOLLEY – The annual memorial service at McKinney Cemetery to honor fallen veterans will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. The event is open to the public.

For more than 85 years, an annual memorial service has been held at the cemetery, located two miles north and 1.5 miles east of Tolley. A directional sign will be at the turn-off on N.D. Highway 5. In case of inclement weather, the service will be held at the Tolley Fire Department.

The Minot Air Force Base Honor Guard will present colors, honoring 54 veterans buried at McKinney Cemetery (34), Trinity Lutheran Cemetery (6), Hamerly Lutheran Cemetery (7) and St. Charles Catholic Cemetery (7). These veterans served during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea or Vietnam.

Retired Maj. Richard Cummings will deliver the memorial address. Cummings is a retired U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) special agent. He has extensive experience with all levels of criminal, counterintelligence, tactical deployment, Protective Services Operations (PSO) and Antiterrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP)matters.

Cummings has commanded AFOSI detachments worldwide and was selected as the AFOSI Command representative, AT/FP adviser to the commander-in-chief, U.S. Transportation Command/Air Mobility Command, during the first Gulf War and served as his personal security adviser and bodyguard for more than two years.

Cummings has deployed to conduct counterintelligence, PSO and AT/FP duties in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia. Assigned to the Air Force’s Special Operations Command, Cummings was the lead instructor for more than three years in the Dynamics of International Terrorism Course and specialized in personal protection, surveillance detection, attack recognition and hostage survival. He also designed, developed and executed the Air Force’s first Force Protection Level II and III Courses.

His active duty deployments and special missions include both Gulf Wars, Somalia, Rwanda and the Balkens. After retirement from the Air Force in 1999, he served as a subject matter expert consultant for multiple private security corporations and advised on a six-month fact-finding mission for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. In 2001 he provided the U.S. Department of Justice his security expertise in support of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

In 2002, Cummings began his Air Force civilian career with the Directorate of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Air Intelligence as a senior intelligence analyst, developing an AT/FP Threat Intelligence, Cyber Threat Intelligence and Space Threat Analysis Divisions in support of the PACAF commander, multiple U.S. military and allied commanders. Between 2014-2017, Cummings deployed multiple times to Iraq, supporting the U.S. national program to provide the Iraqi government with F-16 aircraft. His role consisted of hands-on management of their Threat Intelligence, Physical Security and Critical Asset Protection programs.

Cummings retired in 2018 and lives in Mohall with his wife of 44 years, Alice, who is also an Air Force veteran. Their two adult children and six grandchildren also reside in Mohall.

Founded around 1886, McKinney Cemetery is nestled along the Souris (Mouse) River on three acres of land. It was certified as a historic location by the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 28, 1978. The nomination for historic status identified the cemetery as the oldest cemetery in Renville County.

The cemetery was dedicated on June 22, 1913, according to The Tolley Journal. Just outside the cemetery fence stands the log cabin built by Frank Swenson in the 1890s and restored by the wildlife refuge.

The McKinney Cemetery Association was organized on July 20, 1911. Current officers are Michael O’Clair, president; David Stark, vice president; and Heather Gathman, secretary-treasurer.


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