It Was a Big Splinter!

This week we will introduce you to Dean Pedersen, a fellow member of Hines Alumni. Sgt. Pedersen served in the US Army. He and his wife, Betty, live in Valley City, North Dakota with their children, Matthew and Jen Pedersen, and Sarah and Mike Lerud and grandson Jack.

Dean is blind due to an enemy grenade injury he received while he was serving his last two weeks in Vietnam in 1969. After surgeries and hospital stays he went to the Hines V.A. and entered the Central Blind Rehabilitation Center where he stayed from October 16, 1969 until March 27, 1970.

Dean has been a member of the Valley City State University V-500 Scholarship Program Board of Directors for the last 14 years, serving as President of the Board for 5 of those years. In that position he has led the fund-raising effort each and every year. He is responsible for personally raising in excess of $250,000 in scholarship support. He has been recognized as the Board Member of the Year.

Dean is a lifetime member of all Veteran’s organizations, has held numerous offices and has received many awards from these groups.

He has also been recognized by a number of other organizations and has served on a long list of committees including the Mayor’s Committee for the Employment of the Handicapped, the Governor’s Committee for the Employment of the Handicapped and the North Dakota Private Sector Job Council.

He was named the N.D. Outstanding Vietnam Veteran; Valley City’s Outstanding Handicapped Citizen, North Dakota’s Outstanding Handicapped Citizen; awarded the President’s Outstanding Community Achievement as a Vietnam Veteran; served as the Chairman to host the "Vietnam Moving Wall" in Valley City; received the This Old House "Reader Remodel Moxie Award"; Valley City Education Association "Friend of Education Award"; Valley City State University "Alumni Service Award"; and the Valley City State University V-500 Scholarship Program "Volunteer of the Year" Award. Dean is consistently giving of his time, talent and treasure for the betterment of his community.

Mr. Pedersen was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.

I know him because he is an active mentor and friend to other blind vets. I talk with him regularly and have heard his many grumblings about a splinter he got in his finger. Of course, it was a pretty big splinter! By the way Dean runs his own wood working studio called Pedersen Wood Craft where he creates and builds many beautiful pieces with his own two hands.

In his calm, humble way he said “I more than likely would not have done all these things without first going through the Hines Rehabilitation program.”

The Camaraderie Crew

Cindy Foster – journalist/editor/chairperson


Keith Heltsley – journalist/editor

Janell Groskreutz – journalist/editor

Loraine Angelini – researcher