By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Last week, the Delano General Federated Women’s Club (GFWC) announced it has selected Dale “Timber Dan” Vander Linden as Delano’s citizen of the year for 2013.
Vander Linden has been involved in the community for many years, and the GFWC looks for someone who has shown leadership by example of volunteerism.
In a 2009 article in the Delano Herald Journal, Vander Linden said he doesn’t call himself a rocket scientist, but after years of aerospace engineering work, he’s about as close as they come.
After graduation from Iowa State University in 1961, Vander Linden put his electrical engineering degree to work at Rockwell International Incorporated in California.
He became friends with the astronauts on the Apollo 1 spacecraft mission, including Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, who died in the launchpad fire.
From 2004 to 2005, Vander Linden worked as a contract engineer for Lockheed Martin in New Orleans.
Because of the loss of space shuttle Columbia in 2003, he and other engineers needed to redesign the fuel tanks on space shuttles to minimize foam loss.
Vander Linden said he enjoyed his work at Lockheed Martin, as well as life in Louisiana.
After Vander Linden’s contract at Lockheed Martin was over, he and his wife of 53 years, Mary Kay, moved back to Delano.
Their first move to Delano was from 1968 to 1981. Then, they rented out their house for 11 years, returning in 1992. Vander Linden did contract work until 2005.
Vander Linden is now retired and is active in the Delano community as a long-time Lions Club member, Fourth of July Celebration Committee member, Toastmaster, and American Legion member, and is involved in the VFW and the Disabled American Veterans. He was also involved in the Delano Dream Team II.
“I like to feel that I can make a contribution, and I enjoy interacting with people,” he said at the time. Vander Linden is also part of two writers groups
Vander Linden will be honored at a banquet Saturday, April 13 at the Delano American Legion. Tickets will be sold by GFWC members.
Watch for further information in future editions.