Dale Wondrasch may not have been able to make it to his surprise open house on April 8 celebrating his VFW Lifetime Achievement Award, but he didn’t miss it completely.
The members of the Spring Valley Post 4114 planned the open house to honor Wondrasch’s years of service to the VFW, Spring Valley, and the surrounding communities. The whole town worked hard to keep it a secret for Wondrasch, and they were successful.
Several hundred people attended the open house, but were disappointed when Wondrasch was unable to make it due to some medical concerns. However, through the wonders of technology, he was still able to see his surprise.
A friend live-streamed it through Facebook live and another friend sat with him at the Spring Valley Care Center so he could watch it as it progressed.
When the live-stream was announced at the event, many people were able to congratulate him just as if they would have if he’d been in the building.
VFW Commander Steve O’ Connor presented the plaque and certificate to Wondrasch over the Facebook video noting that it was being given to him in recognition of a lifetime of dedicated service to his country, the Army and other veterans.
Spring Valley Mayor Jim Struzyk and Representative Greg Davids also gave presentations at the open house. Davids read a resolution recognizing Wondrasch for being a recipient of the VFW Lifetime Achievement Award that had been approved by the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Wondrasch, who grew up in Wykoff, joined the Army in 1953 and served in a top secret organization called CRYPTO as a radio and carrier teletype operator. He was discharged in 1955 and spent the next six years in the Reserve.
Wondrasch has been an active member of the Spring Valley VFW for over 50 years and has served in almost every office there. He is currently the senior vice commander.
The VFW Lifetime Achievement Award wasn’t the first award that Wondrasch received. In November of 2016, Wondrasch received an award from the
Wykoff American Legion honoring his 60 years of membership.
In addition to his service to the area veterans, Wondrasch also served on the Spring Valley Fire Department.