A year and three days after 343 firefighters perished in a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Muscatine lost one of its own while battling a house fire in 2002. Firefighter Michael Kruse was 53-years-old and a 27-year veteran of the Muscatine Fire Department when he lost his life on the night of September 14, 2002.
Kruse will be remembered during a special service at 7 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 14) with the laying of a wreath at the Firefighters Memorial commemorating the 19th anniversary of his death.
The public is welcomed to attend the brief ceremony.
“Sometime tomorrow I ask that you take a moment and reflect on something that you can do to make your role as an emergency responder just a little bit more safe,” Mike Hartman, Assistant Fire Chief, said to fire department staff on Monday. “Those who knew Mike would agree that he believed in safety, and he would appreciate you finding a less risky way of doing what you have to do to protect the public.”
Kruse is the only Muscatine firefighter to die in the line of duty, the only Iowa fire fighter to lose their life while on duty in 2002 and the 131st in the state of Iowa since records began in 1890.
Muscatine’s Firefighters Memorial is located at the intersection of Cedar and 5th Streets.
NATIONAL FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL –
Kruse is among the fallen firefighters to be honored with inclusion on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. In his memorial, his children wrote:
“Mike was a ‘True American Hero.’ He never wanted to be recognized for all the wonderful things he did. Mike always stood up for what he believed in. He was always honest‚ even though the other person did not want to hear what he had to say. Mike always followed the rules‚ unless someone gave him a direct order to do otherwise.
Mike always put others before himself. He always talked about his family which he was so proud of. Mike stood by them through thick and thin. He gave his children unconditional love. He taught them to respect other people for who they are. Mike explained to them to love life because life is short. He became their best friend. He loved them for who they are. He was so excited about his little grandson‚ who bore his name. He took time out of his busy life to spend lots of loving moments with him.
Mike always went the extra mile at home and at work. He kept track of every run he had ever been on. He stopped by some of the houses while he was out for his morning jog and checked on patients to make sure they were doing all right. He never passed up the opportunity to play in the yearly basketball game with the Special Olympics. Mike always enjoyed carrying the boot and receiving donations for MDA.
Mike was a veteran at the fire department for twenty-seven years. He was still able to keep up with some of the younger guys. He was able to give the younger firemen the knowledge he had learned over the years. He was very respected for that.
Mike was taken from us at a moment in time when his family and friends were so proud of who he was. He will always remain alive in our hearts as a ‘True American Hero.’”