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Band Leader Remembers McGovern

October 22, 2012, 11:04 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Band Leader Remembers McGovern

It's an unlikely friendship formed while feeding the hungry. Kory and the Fireflies front man Kory Van Sickle knew George McGovern for just a fraction of the career politician's life.

The two met in 2006 shortly before the dedication of the McGovern library. A one-on-one lunch started a six-year friendship that would last through the senator's life.

“He was just flat out a cool guy and intelligent and humble and brave,” Van Sickle said.

Those who knew McGovern know he was so much more. Van Sickle and McGovern were both working on hunger initiatives; their work gave them some common ground. But age was no barrier for their friendship nor was it one for McGovern.

“He would fly to Boston, then out to California, then back to Mitchell for a bit, then it was Sioux Falls. He was constantly moving and constantly still making things happen,” Van Sickle said.

And that was something the senator, candidate, and author did until shortly before his death Sunday. Sometimes the unabashed liberal was political, other times he was not.

“George and Eleanor rode with the band up to Aberdeen for McGovern Days. So we had three hours with them in the car telling stories,” Van Sickle said.

But Van Sickle says McGovern was always a gentleman. Now he is joining those sharing those stories, contributing to a legacy that spanned decades.

“I just really dug him and his spirit,” Van Sickle said.

McGovern was first elected to Congress in 1956 and became a United States Senator in 1962. He ran for President and lost to Richard Nixon in the 1972 Presidential Race.

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