PAULA BARNESS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
VFW Commander Steve O’ Connor and Nathan Pike spoke of the gratitude they have for their friend, Dale Wondrasch’s, continued commitment to the VFW and the community as a whole as they honored him with the VFW Post 4114 Lifetime Achievement Award.
PAULA BARNESS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE VFW Commander Steve O’ Connor and Nathan Pike spoke of the gratitude they have for their friend, Dale Wondrasch’s, continued commitment to the VFW and the community as a whole as they honored him with the VFW Post 4114 Lifetime Achievement Award.
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A standing room only crowd was on hand at the Spring Valley VFW on Saturday, April 8, to honor one of the city’s true icons, Dale Wondrasch.

Though his health wouldn’t allow him to be there in person, Wondrasch was able to watch the ceremony thanks to the wonders of technology as Katie O’Connor-Junge posted it on Facebook Live.

Throughout the ceremony, Wondrasch received numerous awards, first from Spring Valley Fire Chief Troy Lange for his many years of service and contributions to the department.

Next, Spring Valley Mayor Jim Struzyk took to the podium.

“I wish Dale could be here. Thirty-some years ago when we moved to town one of the first people I met was Dale. Whenever the city needed anything done by the VFW I would give Dale a call and he would take care of everything for us,” Struzyk said.

On behalf of the city, Struzyk honored Wondrasch with a certificate of recognition for the many years of service and dedication to the community of Spring Valley.

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, took time away from the Legislature to celebrate Wondrasch.

“I have a House resolution that was passed for Dale from the Minnesota House of Representatives,” Davids explained.

Highlighting Wondrasch’s life, Davids told the crowd that after graduating from Wykoff High School, working for area farmers and at the Spring Valley Chick Hatchery, Wondrasch joined the United States Army in 1953. There he was in crypto, which was top secret, and was a radio and carrier teletype operator during the Korean War. Wondrasch was discharged in 1955, when he went back to work at the hatchery, then numerous other businesses throughout the years.

“Over the years he has served in almost every office for the VFW, which provides a social setting for veterans, served as color guard for various events, presented programs for area schools, served meals, served as an honor guard at funerals and he presently serves in the capacity as senior vice commander,” Davids said. “Whereas Dale has always shown the utmost concern for servicemen’s benefits and the general welfare of his fellow veterans.”

Davids touched on Wondrasch’s work with First English Lutheran Church, the Spring Valley Historical Society, Friends of Forestville, the Sportsmen’s Club, Meals on Wheels, and the VFW’s flag program. Wondrasch also made sure the graves of his deceased comrades were decorated.

“He is deserving of this honor with special legislative recognition therefore be it resolved by the Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration of the House of Representatives of the State of Minnesota that thanks and commence Dale Wondrasch for his lifetime of service to his nation, his community and fellow veterans,” Davids read from the resolution.

Jerry Rollie then addressed the crowd joking, “I grew up with Dale and put up with him on the school bus. I looked for years to try and find him a wife, but I just couldn’t quite get it done...but I’m not giving up yet!”

On behalf of the Wykoff Veterans Memorial Committee, Rollie honored Wondrasch with a certificate of thanks for his continued support, his military service and his lifetime commitment to all those who have served.

“We consider your friendship to our community an honor,” Rollie concluded.

It was then time for VFW Commander Steve O’Connor to honor Wondrasch with the Spring Valley VFW Post 4114 Lifetime Achievement Award for Service.

Wondrasch was selected for this award due to his lifetime of dedicated service to veterans, the community and the nation, according to O’Connor.

Nathan Pike read the certificate accompanying the award, which stated the award honored Wondrasch “for exceptional, meritorious selfless service and over one half century of continued community service to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4114, Spring Valley Fire Department, the city of Spring Valley and the community at large in every capacity. His dedication to the post and the community reflects great credit upon himself, the VFW Post 4114 and the community of Spring Valley.”

While he may not have been there, Wondrasch was, as always, still the life of the party as the community gathered to celebrate him and wish him well.