VALPARAISO | Friends and family are remembering a U.S. Marine and Valparaiso native who was killed while on foot patrol Friday in Afghanistan.
Cpl. Daane DeBoer, 24, was killed by an improvised explosive device, said his father, Valparaiso attorney David DeBoer.
Family and friends said Daane DeBoer was an outgoing, energetic young man who lived to serve others.
"Daane was a phenomenal young man," his father said. "He had a huge heart, and everyone that met him couldn't help but love him. His ever-present sense of humor and his love for others will never be forgotten. He died a hero."
Before enlisting in the Marines, Daane DeBoer enjoyed extreme sports, including skiing in Colorado. He walked the entire 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail along with his cousin as a fund-raiser for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure fund.
He joined the Marines in 2009, completing boot camp June 16, 2009. He was deployed to Afghanistan in March, his father said.
DeBoer was born in Valparaiso and attended Immanuel Lutheran School through the sixth grade. He then moved near Grand Rapids, Mich.
Although it's been more than a decade since DeBoer lived in Valparaiso, he was remembered at Immanuel Lutheran School as an outstanding youth.
"He was a delightful child and very much loved as the youngest in the family," said Judy Miller, who was his fourth-grade teacher during the 1995-96 school year.
Miller said DeBoer was well-mannered and enjoyable, and that she would have liked to have followed his educational career. She said his name was on the church's list of military personnel for whom they would pray.
"He was very much in our thinking and our concerns," she said.
Immanuel Lutheran's pastor, the Rev. Steve Bongard, said he spoke with DeBoer in January during a visit to Valparaiso.
"He was bright, confident and proud to serve his country," Bongard said. His father and stepmother, Mary DeBoer, of Valparaiso, are very active in the church and would speak often about him.
His mother and stepfather are Charlene and Jim Zerrenner, of Ludington, Mich. He also is survived by his sisters, Aubrey DeBoer, Ashley DeBoer and Lindsey DeBoer.
Funeral arrangements are being made by Metcalf Funeral Home in Grand Rapids. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Immanuel Lutheran School of Valparaiso.