In the past, whenever anyone had asked me who my hero was, I'd

always say "Dana Key." Now Dana is gone, gone from this life for good.

He died from a blood clot recently while in his mid-50s.

Dana was half of the Christian rock duo, DeGarmo and Key. Eddie

DeGarmo and he had been best friends since first grade. Dana had a lot

of ambition and drive and strove to make it big in sports or music. The

music avenue worked out well for him. It was as if he and Eddie were

destined for greatness and fame with Eddie being a descendant of Davy

Crockett and Dana being the

great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Francis Scott Key, the

author of The Star-Spangled Banner.

My youngest daughter and I saw one of the last DeGarmo and Key

performances here at the local high school. They were the closing act.

The audience was enthralled and teenagers who were involved in the dark

arts and had come to taunt the event were won over before the evening

was done, we found out later.

Many of us talked to Dana after the concert. He was very personable

and was one of the best listeners I've ever met. Even though he had a

long line waiting to talk to him, he yelled out a question to me as I

was leaving.

Eddie and Dana showed a lot of leadership. They broached topics in

their songs I'd never heard any musicians touch before or since. They

were very genuine and had qualities that rubbed off on other people and

made them better.

I think the thing I most admired about the two was their eagerness

and ability to win souls over for God's Kingdom. (We don't have Dana

anymore, but people can still call (888) NEED-HIM to get saved.)

Fortunately, there are now many people in my life that I admire.

I'll have to come up with a new answer when I'm asked who my living

hero is since Dana is gone. I'm sure there were many others tearing up

all day as I did when I found out about his death. Somehow, singing the

DeGarmo and Key song "Soul Mender" as I worked seemed to help. Dana

would want us to pray for his loved ones and others who held him dear.

The excellence he showed in his life was something rare. My oldest

daughter did some research for me and I wasn't surprised at all that

Dana finished well. He was the head of Ardent Records, pastored a small

church and hosted a television show that featured up-and-coming

Christian musicians in his final days. He was truly a treasure. My

prayer is that we will all live life with the panache that my hero did.

NANCY TEETZEN,

Garden City