MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) Hundreds gathered on the south side of the Minnesota State Capitol grounds in St. Louis. Paul Sunday to honor fallen firefighters who died during the work.
Every year since 2011, people in the Capitol meet on the last Sunday in September for a solemn ceremony to commemorate Minnesota firefighters.
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Four more names were etched for the memorial on Sunday:
• Captain Michael Paider (St. Paul): Died August 26, 2020
• Chief Daryl “Taddy” Drusch (Howard Lake): January 13, 2020
• Charles Brynteson (Minneapolis): April 22, 2018
• John Haycraft (Lewisville): March 15, 1968
Michael Paider leaves behind his wife, son and daughter Meghan.
“He was the coolest person I’ve ever met, and I strive to be like him,” Meghan said. “Just very caring, optimistic and outgoing and will always be there for other people.”
Paider lost a battle with leukemia in August 2020. He is the first firefighter the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation has ever honored who died of cancer as a result of being at work.
Charles Brynteson – a Minneapolis firefighter, captain and assistant chief – lost his life to pancreatic cancer.
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“Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the fire department, and it’s because of all the carcinogens that are in the flammable objects in our homes,” said Jay Wood, president of the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation.
Wood said there has been a push in the state to be proactive in dealing with cancer and creating awareness.
“Many years ago, it used to be a sign of honor to have the dirty tool, burnt helmet up. Now it is a sign of honor to have the cleanest equipment, to remove the carcinogens that we got on us when we are at a fire, ”said Wood.
As society honors those who protect, it is clear that the legacy left behind is still present.
“Just knowing if I can keep living each day as best I can will help make his light shine through me,” Meghan said.
Since 1881, 236 Minnesota firefighters have died in the service.
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The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to help families of firefighters who died while working. Click here to donate.
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