By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Veterans, and those who have fallen in combat, are often regarded as America’s heroes. They are often those whom many have never met, but some of them can be found within one’s community and family.
For Dassel-Cokato senior Gerald Kaddatz, both of these truths apply to him.
Kaddatz’s grandfather, Richard Pulver served in the Vietnam War. He passed away in 1996 at age 52.
“After my husband died, it was pretty lonely,” shared Kaddatz’s grandmother Sharon, “but when Gerald came along, that just filled my life with joy.”
Although Kaddatz never met his grandfather, Sharon would often tell stories about her husband and share photographs of him.
One of the stories that really made Kaddatz laugh was about the time Richard was building a curio cabinet for Sharon, and the saw “was just a-smoking” because it was working so hard to cut through the tough oak wood being used.
“Gerald had said, ‘I could just see that a-smoking on that wood,’” recalled Sharon.
Another incident Kaddatz enjoyed hearing about was the time his grandfather went ice fishing and a muskrat popped its head through the fishing hole. After gently pushing it back into the water twice, and seeing it resurface a third time, Richard made sure the muskrat “was never to be seen again.”
Although the two had never met, Kaddatz enjoys doing many of the same activities his grandfather did, such as repairing cars and small engines, summer and ice fishing, and woodworking.
“There’s a lot of things,” Sharon said. “Gerald wishes [Richard] was around so he could go fishing with him, do woodworking with him.”
Through these tales, Kaddatz developed a deep respect for his grandfather, and wanted to honor him while getting his senior photos done at Country Gallery Photography, about eight miles south of Kimball.
He did this by including his grandfather’s 1928 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan (which Richard had restored), the American flag that was draped over his grandfather’s casket, and a memorial rose which was red, white, and blue.
When Sharon learned Kaddatz wanted to do this, she was “thrilled.”
“I thought, hey, that will come together; that will be pretty good,” she stated, adding that she is happy to know her husband’s legacy will continue as Kaddatz will one day drive Richard’s car into its century year.
“I am very proud of the life choices [Kaddazt] has made, and cannot wait to see what happens in the next chapter of his life,” said Sharon.