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From the oil patch to the White House

President Obama talks about Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesah

When James Anderson began a new post as a safety manager for KS Industries in Tioga about six months ago, he had no idea that one of the employees working under him was a war hero.

Anderson — like many other employees with KSI — didn’t know of former Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha’s death-defying actions while serving in Afghanistan.

“It’s just an honor for me to be associated with him,” Anderson said. “I came here six months ago and I had no idea of Clint’s background. He’s a very humble guy. I didn’t know anything until after he was contacted by the government and he asked for time off.”

Romesha was certainly going to need some time off. On Feb. 11, Romesha — a Minot resident and KSI employee — received the prestigious Medal of Honor from President Obama during a ceremony at the White House. Referring to his actions after a siege on U.S. troops during the fall of 2009 at Combat Outpost Keating near the Pakistan border, Obama said last week that Romesha acted with “conspicuous gallantry” during the attack.

According to eyewitness accounts, Romesha helped lead severely outnumbered U.S. soldiers against hundreds of Taliban fighters using grenades, mortars, machine guns and rifles while storming the Army compound.

Romesha, who suffered shrapnel wounds during the raid, is only the fourth living person to receive the military’s highest honor for service in Afghanistan or Iraq, where Romesha also served two tours.

Information from the Army’s website stated that close to 300 insurgents attacked the U.S. post, which was manned by about 50 soldiers. KSI owner Kevin Small and four other company employees traveled to the White House last week to see Romesha receive his medal.

“We’ve gotten a lot of requests to speak with (Romesha) and people have sent letters of appreciation to us, asking that we forward them to his home address,” Anderson said. “The whole thing has been breathtaking. To be associated with someone in the service is just great, first off, and to find out what Clint did, it’s just amazing.”

Since the announcement of Clint Romesha’s award, it’s been a whirlwind tour for Clint and his wife, Tamara. The two have made numerous appearances on national television and have been in high demand in national media circles. Anderson said he expects to have Romesha back at work as a safety specialist for KSI — an oil field construction company that is based in Bakersfield, Calif., and has offices in several states — by March 1.

“This thing has been a little overwhelming at times for (Clint), but we’re going to have a little reception for him here, too, when he comes back,” Anderson said. “But it’s going to all be at Clint’s pace. Clint is just a humble guy. If you heard any of his remarks following the ceremony, it was all about him doing his job, nothing special. Clint doesn’t wear it on his lapel he keeps it in his heart.”

After moving to Minot from Colorado a few years ago, it seems the Romeshas and their three children have found a home. If you didn’t know his story, however, you would think Clint Romesha was just another hard-working North Dakota family man.

“We love that Clint works for our company, but I also think that it’s a credit to his community and the greater community of North Dakota to have Clint,” Anderson said. “There are thousands of people who are (in the Oil Patch) working, but Clint lives here. He’s a homeowner in Minot. When I first came here, Clint said ‘I’m raising my family here, this is my home’ and I think that says something about North Dakota.”

A new favorite son of the state, Romesha will be made available for the media Thursday at the North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck.

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