by Dennis Dalman
During a Veterans Day lunch at Sartell Middle School, student Jacob Weyer leaned over to tell his uncle Darrell Theisen, a Vietnam veteran, how happy he is to have him as a lunch buddy, how happy he is he survived that long-ago war and how happy he is that he is alive.
“I feel good you survived,” Jacob said. “I feel good you are alive.”
“Well, it make me feel good, too!” his uncle said with an exclamation and a laugh.
Theisen and his nephew enjoyed lunch together on Sartell Middle School’s Home Day celebration. It’s the eighth annual event at the school to honor veterans who are relatives of the students: grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Many veterans attended the school event, enjoying lunch with students and attending a salute to veterans after lunch in the gymnasium (see related story.)
Jacob is a seventh-grade student at SMS. Theisen, who lives in Sauk Rapids, is the owner of Sauk Rapids Electric. A draftee, he served in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, a clerk and member of the 101st Airborne Division.
Theisen and his wife, Joan, have two children – Brandon, 36; and Michelle, 34 – and two grandchildren – a 4-year-old girl and a 1-year old boy.
“This is the first one of these events I’ve come to,” Theisen said. “I’m not one to celebrate things like this because I think the Vietnam War was a big waste, but I’m glad I came today for Jacob’s sake.”