Family in Fergus Falls prepares for special Memorial Day walk to honor loved one

The Fergus Falls family is carrying on a tradition a son and brother started years ago. A special Memorial Day 11-mile walk.

Daniel Anderson in his dress uniform.
Contributed / Anderson family
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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — It is hard for family to forget Daniel Anderson.

"He was a comedian, he always had a smile on his face. He always made people laugh," said Daniel Anderson's sister Debra Winkler. 

A member of the Minnesota National Guard, Daniel Anderson helped organize an annual Memorial Day Walk from Underwood Minnesota to Fergus Falls. But following his death from drowning in 2012, the walk stopped.

But now Debra Winkler has been training, and preparing to make the Memorial Day Walk her brother started years ago.

"Just to do it, I guess, to honor him and give back and cross it off my bucket list," Winkler said. "If marathoners can run ten, I can walk ten."


Friday, May 27, marks the 10th anniversary of Daniel Anderson's death, and so the family says retracing his steps on this Memorial Day weekend walk is a great way to remember him.

"(It's) to remind all of us that they're not here anymore, but yet, they're here in spirit," Daniel's father, Jeff Anderson, said.

Jeff Anderson says the family has a long history of service.

"My grandma had 11 children in the service," he said.

Daniel Anderson, his dad and brother also served. And so Winkler's big, 11-mile walk on Monday seems so fitting.

"Every day, he (Daniel) always pops up. He's always some place," Jeff Anderson said.

Daniel Anderson, loved by elementary students in Fergus Falls, is remembered with benches and a tree on their playground.

To the mark the 10th anniversary of his death, Daniel Anderson's father and friends will have a special motorcycle ride throughout Otter Tail County on Sunday.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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