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Remembering a Hero: Firefighter Brian Staska Dies After Cancer Battle

October 27, 2017 11:11 PM

(ABC 6 News ) -- Local communities and firefighters all across the state are mourning the loss of a beloved firefighter.

Brian Staska passed away Friday morning after battling stage 4 cancer the last 18 months. 

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Staska devoted his career to helping communities in southeastern Minnesota. He's been a firefighter for more than 30 years, working with the Austin, Brownsdale and Owatonna Fire Departments.He has also been the Fire and Public Safety Coordinator for Riverland Community College in Austin.

ABC 6 News followed along shortly after his diagnosis in 2016.  Staska was featured in our investigation about cancer among firefighters.  Staska even received the first cancer "toolbox" to be given in Minnesota by the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.

Earlier this month, we were also there as a convoy of fire trucks including the Pink Heals truck surprised Staska at his home in Austin.

"Just shows how much we back each other and love each other, I've never been awed more by the fire service," said Staska. 

He also said talking about his illness is critical to helping to prevent future cases amongst his brothers and sisters in uniform.   "The more we tell the story, hopefully, the more understanding we'll have of this in the future; if we don't talk about it and we're just pushing it underneath the carpet all the time, how are we ever going to fix it."

Prayers and support have been pouring in from fire departments all across southeastern Minnesota including Albert Lea, Rose Creek and Waseca Fire Departments.

Kasson's fire department wrote this on their Facebook page, "It is with heavy hearts that the Kasson Fire Department is sad to say that Brian Staska, has past away this morning. Brian has been battling cancer for the last 18 months. Brian has been a HUGE part of everyone in the fire service. Please keep his family in your prayers! RIP Brian, you will be missed!"

His brothers in uniform also saying this is a reminder that the work to protect our firefighters from cancer is far from over and critical now more than ever so families don't keep losing their loved ones.

Staska leaves behind a wife and three daughters.

Visitation for Brian will take place on Friday, November 3, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Worlein Funeral Home in Austin.  A memorial service will take place the following day on November 4th at 2 p.m. at the Austin High School.


Credits

Laura Lee

Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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