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‘Citizenship is Contagious’
April 1, 2013

Dale Vander Linden to be honored Saturday, April 13 as 2013 Citizen of the Year

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

The General Federated Women’s Club of Delano has been highlighting outstanding citizens since 1978, but each recognition banquet is one-of-a-kind.

This time, with 2013 Citizen of the Year Dale Vander Linden as the honoree, tables will be adorned with Vander Linden’s poems and stories.

“I’ve written clear up to the time I got out of the service,” Vander Linden said.

With eight older brothers and a dad who worked as a sharecropper in Iowa, Vander Linden’s history is colorful and entertaining.

“I went to six different country schools before graduating from eighth grade,” Vander Linden said.

Living in the country, Vander Linden spent a lot of time outdoors. The summer of 1939, he remembers one of his older brothers planning to show the younger ones how to mow the lawn. Everything was going well, until his brother ran over a cow pie.

“It decorated him from his head to his toes,” Vander Linden laughed.

Vander Linden never thought of his family as poor – “We just didn’t have any money.”

They did have all the essentials, though, like homemade ice cream. And every summer, they were treated to fresh watermelon.

“Watermelon was almost as important in my early life as ice cream,” Vander Linden said.

Many of Vander Linden’s stories have creative titles, such as “Gizzard of Awes,” which details the fights he and his brothers would have over who would get the chicken gizzard.

Some of the writings are about Delano, such as “Owed to Delano,” “A River Runs Through It,” and “City on the Crow.”

Vander Linden and his wife of 57 years, Mary Kay, first moved to Delano in 1968. Vander Linden’s career as an electrical engineer also took him to Lockheed Martin in New Orleans, Rockwell International in California, and Ball Aerospace in Colorado.

Vander Linden is known as “Timber Dan,” and started the Timber Dan Antique and Collectible show in Colorado in 1985. The show, which he turned over to the Lions Club in 2011, has generated nearly $175,000 for Lions projects thus far.

In February, the Lions Club in Loveland, CO presented Vander Linden with the Colorado Lions Foundation Humanitarian Award.

Vander Linden has been a Lion for nearly 42 years, and is also celebrating 52 years in Toastmasters, and 44 in the American Legion.

“Dale is a giving person who loves his community,” club member Jeanie Pilarski noted.

Vander Linden’s endless list of accomplishments include serving on the school superintendent selection committee, community education board, planning commission, park board, Delano Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), senior center writers group, and Fourth of July committee, being middle school lunchroom monitor, elementary school mentor, school board chairman and clerk, sportsmen’s club first vice president, election official, and assistant Scoutmaster, being part of the Disabled American Veterans, Dream Team I and II, various church and political activities, and more.

The theme for the April 13 banquet is “Citizenship is Contagious.”

“I think most everybody has something they can offer to the benefit of the community,” Vander Linden said.

If you’re going . . .
Tickets are still available for the Saturday, April 13 spring banquet hosted by the General Federated Women’s Club of Delano.

Doors open at the Delano American Legion at 5:30 p.m., and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6 p.m.

Dinner will start at 7 p.m., with a program to follow.

Tickets cost $22.50, and must be purchased in advance. They are available at Downtown Beauty Salon (228 N. River St.), and from GFWC members Lisa Blodgett, Chris Brazelton, Alice Fink, Mary Grotz, Jennifer Halverson, Kay James, Bernice Kittock, Lucille Ledescher, Ann Lundsten, Marlene Muckenhirn, Jeanie Pilarski, Mary Robinson, Pat Sawatzke, Lorraine Statema, Dorothy Tulkki, Judy Vanderlinde, Norma Wandersee, and Barb Winkle. Proceeds will benefit GFWC community service projects.

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