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Marine Cpl. Daane A. Deboer

Died June 25, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


24, of Ludington, Mich.; assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 25 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Marine who hiked Appalachian Trail dies in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

DETROIT — A Marine whose experience hiking the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail while raising money for a charity helped lead him to enlist in the military has died while fighting in Afghanistan, his father said Monday.

Cpl. Daane Adam DeBoer, 24, was killed Friday by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol, said his father, David DeBoer of Valparaiso, Ind. He said the military notified family in Indiana and Michigan of his son’s death the same day.

“He was an exceptionally phenomenal young man who loved the Lord,” said his mother Charlene Zerrenner of Ludington, Mich. “He loved his family and he loved his country. He died a hero.”

Daane DeBoer was born in Valparaiso and attended Immanuel Lutheran School through sixth grade before moving to the Grand Rapids area. He lived in Rockford until graduating from high school, his father said.

He lived in Colorado for about a year before joining the Marines in spring 2009, and was deployed to Afghanistan in March, David DeBoer said.

Daane DeBoer enjoyed extreme sports such as skiing and hiked the Appalachian Trail along the mountainous spine of the eastern U.S. while raising money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a nonprofit dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.

“The discipline of doing the trail and what he was doing it for, I think, had a huge impression on him,” David DeBoer said. “Doing something bigger than himself.”

As of Monday morning, the Department of Defense hadn’t released information about DeBoer.

The family has requested privacy. Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service in Grand Rapids, which was contacted by the family and the military, was handling arrangements. A funeral was expected to be in the Grand Rapids area.

Daane DeBoer’s father and stepmother, Mary DeBoer, live in Valparaiso, Ind., while his mother and stepfather, Jim Zerrenner, live in Ludington, Mich. Other survivors include his sisters Aubrey, Ashley and Lindsey DeBoer.

In place of flowers, contributions may be made to Immanuel Lutheran School of Valparaiso, his father said.


Marine killed in Afghanistan honored in Mich.

The Associated Press

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Flags flew at half-staff around Michigan on Friday to mark the funeral of a Marine killed in Afghanistan who was inspired to join the military after hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise money for charity.

About 300 friends and relatives of Cpl. Daane A. DeBoer, 24, gathered for a private memorial at a church in Grand Rapids.

His friend, Lance Cpl. Ryan Innis, said he had been looking forward to going hunting with DeBoer when his tour in Afghanistan ended. Instead, Innis was assigned to escort DeBoer’s body on a plane from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford Airport.

“That was definitely the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do and probably will be for the rest of my life,” Innis told The Grand Rapids Press.

DeBoer was killed June 28 when an improvised explosive device exploded while he was on foot patrol in Helmand province.

During the funeral, Marines in dress uniform walked silently down the center of the Mayflower Congregational Church ahead of DeBoer’s casket. After the service, a Marine bagpiper played “Amazing Grace” before pallbearers loaded the flag-draped casket into a hearse.

DeBoer enjoyed extreme sports such as skiing, and he hiked the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail while raising money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a nonprofit dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. The trail runs along the mountainous spine of the eastern U.S.

“The discipline of doing the trail and what he was doing it for, I think, had a huge impression on him,” his father, David DeBoer of Valparaiso, Ind., told The Associated Press this week. “Doing something bigger than himself.”

DeBoer was born in Valparaiso, about 15 miles south of Lake Michigan in northern Indiana, where he attended Immanuel Lutheran School through sixth grade before moving to the Grand Rapids area. DeBoer graduated from Northview High School in Kent County’s Plainfield Township, near Rockford, Mich.

He enlisted last year and was deployed to Afghanistan in March. DeBoer was part of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Along with his father, other survivors include his mother and stepfather, Charlene and Jim Zerrenner, of Ludington, Mich.; his stepmother, Mary DeBoer, of Valparaiso; sisters Aubrey, Ashley and Lindsey DeBoer; and grandmother Barbara Sturrus of Grand Rapids.

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