LUDINGTON, MI, US
U.S. Marine Corps
CPL, 1ST CEB (1ST BN 2D MAR, RCT-2, I MEF FWD), 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA
06/25/2010, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
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.
Corporal 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.”
His friend, Lance Corporal 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.
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
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.