Late Army veteran’s family accepts award from Sen. Klobuchar
Forest Lake’s Stephen “Duey” Dufeck passed away in December without having received a Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in Vietnam.
That error was attended to in late July, when Dufeck’s family gathered for a ceremony in St. Paul. Dufeck’s sons, James, Christopher and Jason, and his grandson, Stephen, accepted the honor on his behalf from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar at the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial outside the state Capitol.
“The Purple Heart Stephen Dufeck received for his extraordinary service to our country was long overdue.” Klobuchar said. “Nearly 45 years after suffering wounds that left shrapnel in his body, I was proud to join Stephen’s family and finally recognize his sacrifice.”
Dufeck was born in Duluth and grew up in Stacy. His father was a World War II veteran and electrician at the U.S. Steel plant. After graduating high school in 1966, Dufeck volunteered for the U.S. Army and was deployed to Vietnam where he served in an artillery unit at remote firebases across the country. On Sept. 22, 1968, he was wounded in an enemy rocket and mortar attack.
Dufeck erroneously was not bestowed a Purple Heart. Despite the encouragement of family and friends, it was only after his diagnosis of terminal esophageal cancer that Dufeck looked into correcting the oversight. Sen. Klobuchar’s office assisted in tracking down the needed documentation.