Service: US Army and Teach for America
Dan Feehan was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and grew up north of Rochester. From an early age, Dan was inspired by the public service of his parents and the election of the late Paul Wellstone, and he knew he wanted to follow their example and serve his community. He was given that chance after September 11, 2001, when he witnessed the day’s terrorist attacks firsthand as a college student in Washington, D.C.
He committed himself to military service in the coming months, signing up for Army ROTC so he could do his part to protect the nation’s security. From 2005 through 2009, he served as an active duty soldier and completed two combat tours of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Iraq, Dan searched for roadside bombs and pursued those threatening Americans and Iraqis alike, earning the Bronze Star for Service, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and the Ranger Tab.
Even as his military duty was ending, Dan knew his dedication to service was only beginning a new chapter. He felt a new calling to serve children at home as a teacher in high needs communities. On the week he left the Army in 2009, he began teaching first graders on Chicago’s south side, followed by two years spent as a middle school math teacher in Gary, Indiana. His experiences as a soldier and teacher taught him the enormous impact public policy has on the lives of everyday people, and he became determined to use that wisdom as a policymaker.
For the third time, Dan asked to serve, moving to Washington, D.C. after graduate school to join the Obama administration, first as a White House Fellow and then as an acting Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. In that position, he worked tirelessly to ensure that our millions of service members were ready to fight, and that they had the tools to lead a quality life as veterans after their service was over. He worked diligently with Members of Congress to ensure policy proposals had the best impact possible.
After finishing his service with President Obama, Dan moved back to Minnesota, the place he has always called home, to write and conduct research on the military. Dan and his wife Amy, an elementary school teacher, want to raise their two young boys, Conor and Declan, in the same southern Minnesota that instilled the value of service in Dan.