The Bunker: Daniel Unger's story inspires faith around world

By Reggie Ellis

A preacher for troubled youth. A savior for two Iraqi civilians. A hero for his hometown. A martyr for his country's war. Daniel Unger was many things to many people and now, months after his death, he has become something that would have meant much more to him - a disciple of God.

The story of Daniel's sacrifice has touched the hearts of nearly everyone in Tulare County, especially in his hometown of Exeter, and the Unger family has produced a brochure to share it with the world in the hopes of spreading the Word of God.

"Daniel's story is changing lives worldwide," said Pastor Marc Unger, Daniel's father. "He now has a worldwide ministry of thousands of people and growing everyday."

The trifold brochure titled "The Bunker" was written by the Unger family and produced with the help of Premier Color Graphics in Visalia. The initial printing of 3,000 was donated by the company's president, Wayne Yada, in Daniel's memory. The brochure begins with "Canvas tents are no match for mortars. If you want to be saved, you need a bunker." It goes on to tell the story of how Daniel, an army infantry specialist stationed in Iraq, gave his life to save two Iraqi civilians he didn't even know.

"When the first mortar came in at 3:30 p.m., everyone 'hit the deck.' After the first explosion, all the soldiers did what they were trained to do, they ran for the safety of the bunkers. All but Spc. Unger. The Iraqi civilian contractors appeared afraid and bewildered. Daniel ran to them, yelled at them, got behind them and shoved them in front of himself toward the safety of the bunker as the second mortar landed … Then the third mortar hit! Daniel was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantry Badge. The Iraqis he 'herded' to the bunker were saved."

The underlying theme of the brochure is that Daniel's life was not taken, but rather he gave his life to save those of the two Iraqis and that Jesus Christ "willingly laid down His life 'for His friends,' for the sins of the world for you - so that you could come through the mortar fields of life to safety in the bunker of God."

Initially the brochure was given to the 218 soldiers in Daniel's National Guard Unit that served in Iraq. Then 200 were sent to the Elk Horn Boot Camp in Caruthers where Daniel used to minister to troubled youth. Another 50 to a pastor's wife in Fullerton who had heard Daniel's story. Then two copies for a New Jersey grandmother of a soldier in Iraq. Then hundreds to chaplains in the armed services who translate the story for Iraqis training to be their own volunteer military.

"They tell them, 'This is why you train, because people like this gave their lives for you,'" Marc said.

In all more than 5,000 have been distributed throughout the world. Just yesterday, Sept. 14, Marc passed out 1,500 copies at a pastors' convention in Santa Clara where a video featuring Daniel was shown. Marc said they have already printed an additional 10,000 copies, 2,000 of which were to fill requests for the brochure. If anyone would like to donate for printing and postage costs or would like to request a copy of "The Bunker" call Pastor Marc Unger at 594-0055 or send mail to Exeter Baptist Church, 132 N. E St. Exeter, CA 93221. E-mail may be sent to [email protected].

"It is amazing, the power of Daniel's story," he said. "You wouldn't believe the number of people who have contacted me to send them a copy."

The brochure ends with the following passage followed by a short prayer:

"If you hear God speaking to your heart to turn to Him, are you willing at this moment to be saved from the mortar field of life - and death - by trusting in Jesus Christ, following Him to the bunker of God and letting Him get you safely inside? The mortars of life are falling around you now and there is no time to lose."

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