Saturday, April 14, 2007

Daniel Olsen laid to rest

He was a talented musician, a loyal, fun-loving friend, and a proud Marine.

Funeral services were held Wednesday for a Minnesota marine killed in Iraq. Twenty-year-old Lance Corporal Daniel Olsen of Eagan was shot in the back and killed April 2. He had been in Iraq just over two months.

Today, his friends and family gathered for a final goodbye.

Friends say Daniel Olsen never liked the spotlight and seeing the crowd at his funeral would have embarrassed him.

They remembered him as a man who always put others first.

"We miss Dan. The guy had a way of making people feel like they were the most important person in the world," Wooddale Church Pastor Brian Schulenburg said.

Among those people honoring Olsen were Governor Tim Pawlenty and First Lady Mary Pawlenty. They joined lifelong friends from the high school drum line and Boy Scouts, all who recalled his faith and loyalty.

"Dan, you respected everyone. You honored God and your country. You were not only a true friend, you were my best friend," Kevin Lake said.

Kids from Olsen's Sunday school class gave him a bible before he left for boot camp. Wednesday they told those gathered about that day, "We had him sit on a tiny chair and the children circled around and gave him a hug."

His dedication to them was so strong that he often helped them during his free time.

"He would find out where our children were playing basketball and when we got to the gym he would be waiting there, smiling. And he surprised our girls by having lunch with them at school," Colleen Schultz recalled.

Olsen was buried with full military honors at Fort Snelling in Saint Paul.

From KARE 11

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Daniel Olsen reported killed in Iraq