Honoring their sacrifice

In 1917, George Vaughn Seibold, a 23-year-old American boy, volunteered for WWI. At that time, the United States did not have an air force and George wanted to fly. He trained in Canada learning to fly British airplanes and was assigned to the British Royal Flying Corps, 148th Aero Squadron. He and his squadron were sent to France.

He wrote his mother, Grace Darling Seibold, regularly. While George was serving, Grace volunteered by visiting servicemen in hospitals. One day, there were no more letters from George. The family searched for information, but because the squadron was under British command, the United States couldn’t help.

On Oct. 11, 1918, George’s wife received a box which was marked “Effects of deceased Officer 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold.” He had been killed in action.

As a way to deal with her grief, Grace continued to volunteer at hospitals, helping ease the pain of many servicemen. She also reached out to other mothers whose sons had died in military service. On June 4, 1928, 25 mothers met in Washington, DC, and established the national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

A local Gold Star Mom

Jackie McKellar of Pine City became a Gold Star Mom on Aug. 27, 2010, when her son, Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder was killed in action in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. McKellar describes her son as a “smart, entertaining fun friend who you knew was in the room.”

McKellar wrote the following about her son:

Daniel Louis Fedder grew up in Pine City, Minnesota with his parents Bob and Jackie McKellar and his brother Dominic (Nick).  He attended Grasston Christian Academy and graduated from Pine City High School in 1994.  Danny played soccer and basketball at Grasston and he wrestled and played football at PCHS.  He also participated in school and community plays and competed in speech.  He continued in the military taking 1st place in Greco Roman competition in Japan.

Due to the influence of his uncles, Danny knew at a young age that he was military bound. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and attended recruit training in December, 1994.  Pvt Fedder checked into the Engineer Equipment Operators Course, Camp Lejeune, and was meritoriously promoted for being his class honor grad. LCpl Fedder then received orders to MWSS 171 in Iwakuni, Japan, where he served as a Heavy Equipment Operator. He returned to Camp Pendleton as Heavy Equipment Operator and Sapper Instructor, then on to Quantico to Marine Security Guard School which led him to Muscat, Oman and Caracus, Venezuela Embassy Duty as Assistant Detachment Commander. In his spare time he obtained some flight schooling that was cut short due to deployment but he was able to complete and graduate from US Navy Scuba School. Dan then decided to enter the world of Explosive Ordnance. He was honor grad again at EOD School at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Dan then reported to Hawaii where he participated in several EOD missions including his first deployment to Iraq. He served his second deployment to Iraq as Section Leader and Team Leader. At the time of his deployment in 2010, he had come through the ranks to become a Master Sergeant and Master EOD Technician as platoon commander for EOD 1st Company in Afghanistan.

During his 16-year military career, Dan met people from all over the world. He worked with the British Royal Marines and upon arrival at their camp realized something was wrong and proceeded to render their camp safe from several 40 lb IED’s which were wired together, saving the 40th Commandos from total loss. Dan’s wife Diana was invited to a memorial service in “Spartan Wood” near Taunton, UK, where these grateful men dedicated a tree in Dan’s honor, knowing that if it weren’t for him, they would not have survived.

Dan had many different duties and titles throughout his career. He was proud to earn the title of “Master Blaster” as well as the most recent title of “Hurt Locker Dan.” Dan traded duty behind a desk to work in the field. He couldn’t handle knowing he was losing men while he sat behind a desk.  As he would say, “No man left behind.”

On Aug. 27, 2010, while disarming an IED in Helmund Province, Afghanistan, a secondary blast took him from us.

By an Act of Congress on June 5, 2012, the post office of Pine City was renamed “The MSgt Daniel Fedder Post Office” as proposed by Congressman Chip Cravaack.

In 2011, two Pine City high school students were awarded the first “MSgt Daniel Fedder Memorial Scholarship” awards which continue to be given yearly. Danny would enjoy knowing he is still contributing to his alma mater.

Dan’s personal awards and decorations include: Bronze Star With Valor (Posthumous), Purple Heart (Posthumous), two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, one w/combat distinguishing devise, Joint Service Achievement Medal and many more.

Dan’s life touched many others in the short time we were blessed to have him. He made every effort to make it count.

He is still loved and sorely missed.

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