HOWARD LAKE, MN A man who devoted more than three decades to saving lives and protecting his neighbors died unexpectedly Monday hours after responding to an emergency call.
Howard Lake Fire & Rescue/Ambulance Chief Daryl (Taddy) Drusch died in the early morning hours of Jan. 13 at his residence from a suspected heart attack.
Drusch had responded to an emergency call 12 hours prior. His death is the first Minnesota line-of-duty fire service death of 2020, according to a release from the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation.
Drusch was a 30-year veteran of Howard Lake Fire & Rescue, most recently serving as fire chief since 2014.
He leaves behind his wife, Julie, and 15-year-old son, Taylor.
“Taddy is remembered as being a dedicated, strong leader; devoted husband, and loving father. The loss is especially difficult for the Howard Lake Fire & Rescue/Ambulance Service: Drusch’s extended family is active in the department, with four members serving in various capacities,” the release noted.
Drusch’s death was felt far beyond the Howard Lake city limits.
Tuesday afternoon, a procession began in Minneapolis, and followed Highway 394 to Highway 12, ending at the Swanson-Peterson funeral home in Cokato.
The procession was led by a Howard Lake fire truck and a Howard Lake police squad.
Along the route, other fire departments paid their respects by being positioned on overpasses or alongside the highway. Departments represented included Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Saint Louis Park, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Long Lake, Maple Plain, Delano, South Haven, Clearwater, Montrose, Waverly, Buffalo, Hanover, Monticello, St. Michael, Albertville, Annandale, Cokato, Rockford, and Maple Lake.
According to the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation, “Cardiovascular disease has long been recognized as the number-one killer of firefighters nationwide and is by far the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service. In 2003, ‘The National Hometown Heroes Act’ officially recognized cardiac arrest as a line-of-duty death.”
The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation coordinates the effort to recognize the state’s firefighters who died in the line of duty and provides support and resources to fire departments, firefighters, and their families throughout Minnesota.
For a full obituary for Drusch CLICK HERE.