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Updated: Jul 30, 2014 3:16PM
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Gone, But Not Forgotten

April 29, 2014, 10:05 PM by Travis Fossing

Gone, But Not Forgotten
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

As investigators continue to search through wreckage scattered south of Highmore, D.J. Fischer, one of four men killed in Sunday's plane crash, is remembered by a former teammate and friend.

"D.J. meant the world to me, as he did a lot of people," former teammate and friend Bill VanderVorst said.

Bill VanderVorst was a neighbor, classmate, friend, and teammate of D.J. Fischer growing up in Gettysburg.

"He was a guy that had the softest heart in the world.  Just an all-around great guy.  He would drop anything he was doing, in an instant to lend a helping hand," VanderVorst said.

Prior to playing at SDSU, Fischer earned All-State honors as a junior and senior at Gettysburg, and was an unquestioned leader of the Battlers.

"He's definitely a team leader.  He was not scared to chew you out if you made a mistake, but you knew it was in the best interest of the team," VanderVorst said.

Fischer even prompted the opposition to bend the rules.

"I still remember games my brother used to play against them, when they lost 14-12, and we even tried to cheat.  We had too much snow on our field, but it wasn't stopping D.J., not a chance" former Sully Buttes player Galen Stolp said.

Even after his playing days, Fischer's impact on Gettysburg was evident.

"He was very involved with the community, very proud to be from Gettysburg.  He was an EMT, Firefighter...very popular in the aviation world, agricultural world.  He left a lasting impression," VaderVorst said.

VanderVorst talked with Fischer last Thursday, and last saw him at his wedding.

"He is a newlywed husband, and I was just recently back for his wedding reception at the end of March, and that was the...the last time I seen him," VanderVorst said.

The news of Fischer's passing hit VanderVorst harder than any collision on the field, but he had one last message for his friend.

"Farewell D.J.  Fly on D.J.  Fly on," VanderVorst said.

A prayer service will be held for D.J. Fischer this Friday, at 7:00, at Sacred Catholic Church in Gettysburg.  Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday at 1:00 at the Gettysburg School Gym.  A memorial has been established at Great Western Bank in Gettysburg.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
The funeral for Fischer is on Saturday, not Sunday as first reported.

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