Scholarship will honor Kaitie Leising

Leslie Silverman
Keystone is gearing up to honor one of its former deputies, Kaitie Leising, with a memorial scholarship fundraiser event.
Leising was just 29 years old when she was fatally shot during a DUI traffic stop in Glenwood, Wis., in early May 2023. 
Raised in Chadron, Neb., Leising went to school at Black Hills State University, majoring in psychology. At a very early age, Leising knew she wanted to go into law enforcement.
In February 2020 she was hired by the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) and graduated from the academy in July of that same year.
She served with PCSO  for almost two years and was Hill City’s first female deputy.
She live in the community of Keystone and was focused on understanding the desires of the  people in the communities she served and what they expected of her.
The town recently proclaimed May 18 as Katie Leising Day, a proclamation it had also made shortly after her untimely passing last year.
This year Jeanie Kirkpatrick is spearheading a campaign to create a scholarship in Leising’s honor. 
“We both worked up at Mount Rushmore,” Kirkpatrick fondly recalled.  “Katie used to work for Xanterra in the parking department and I was a park ranger up there. I would see her in the mornings when I would come in to work and we would talk.”
She described Leising as an individual who loved to help people. 
“This is my way to remember Kaitie,” Kirkpatrick said. “This is a way for Kaitie to still help others even after her passing. She was someone who was always there if you needed her.”
The May 18 event  starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be held  at Halley’s 1880 Store in Keystone. 
It will include music from Don Anderson, who helped honor Leising last year.   
“He did a great job,” Kirkpatrick said, adding people will be able to dance and celebrate Leising remembering, “what an awesome and outstanding person she was. I hope that there will be tears of joy and not sorrow. Laughter and not crying. Telling of stories. Having a good time just like Kaitie would if she was still with us,” Kirkpatrick said.
The evening will feature a potluck dinner and Kirkpatrick encourages people to ”please bring a dish and a memory to share.” 
Walking tacos and drinks can be purchased as well. The event also includes a silent auction with donations from various local businesses including Battle Creek Vacations, Big Thunder Gold Mine, Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Laila’s Toy Chest and Sprockets Fun Foundry.
All money collected for the scholarship will be held at First Interstate Bank. While not all the details have been fully determined, Kirkpatrick said, “students will have to meet the guidelines that will be set for the scholarship and answer a question.” 
The scholarship  will be distributed on the anniversary of Leising’s passing.

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