SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- A leader in medicine and the military, Dr. Richard Porter of Sioux Falls, S.D., received the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota at a banquet last weekend.
Porter graduated from The U’s medical school in 1961. Two years later, he received his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. From 1966 to 1968, Porter served in the Army as a brigade captain and then as a battalion surgeon with the101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.
For his exceptional devotion to duty, Porter received many citations, including the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star and Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Silver Star. His military service continued from 1972 to 1991 as part of the 730th Medical Company, based in Vermillion. During Operation Desert Storm in 1990, Col. Porter served as commander of the company and again was honored for meritorious service earning the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Invasion Medal, Iraq Invasion Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Bronze Star for valor.
After Desert Storm, Porter became director of Medical Affairs of the South Dakota Army National Guard. He served in that position until 2000. His service in the National Guard earned him several citations, including the South Dakota Distinguished Service medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Legion of Merit.
Porter's distinguished career includes serving as president and chief of staff of Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, S.D., after a long association with the hospital and Yankton Medical Clinic. He has served the State Medical Association in a number of capacities, including a term as president. He has been heavily involved in the community providing leadership for a number of charitable and civic endeavors. Throughout his career, Porter also made time for medical education serving as the attending physician for the Internal Medicine Residency Program in Yankton as well as professor of family medicine in Yankton and professor of internal medicine in Rapid City, S.D.
Porter and his wife, Marlys, have two daughters and two grandsons.