SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A South Dakota firefighter was laid to rest today in Cavour. Because of the expected crowd, the memorial service was held at the state fairgrounds in nearby Huron. Cavour Fire Chief Josh Kogel died from a heart attack while helping Huron firefighters fight this fire at Hurd Alignment shop on Labor Day. It was close to a hundred degrees that day, and the work was strenuous.
The show of support here is impressive; there are at least 50 vehicles behind us lined up on Lincoln Avenue, and there are even more over here on the fairgrounds. Sisseton, Iroquois, Aberdeen, and Luverne, Minnesota, to name a few.
The procession was silent and somber as the hearse and the rest of the vehicles made their way down Lincoln Avenue on the way to a small cemetery near Cavour about nine miles away. Firefighters and first responders stood at attention, some saluting as Kogel and his family passed by. Battalion Chief Chad Cody came with other members of the Mitchell Fire Department.
“When somebody loses their life, we come behind, support, support the firefighter, support the family, support the community.
What is it about that firefighter brotherhood?
“It’s just once a firefighter, always a firefighter. And it doesn’t matter where you go if you are in South Dakota, if you are on the East Coast, West Coast, it just is, it’s a brotherhood,” said Cody.
Firefighter Hayden Schmautz was there to represent the Fort Pierre Volunteer Fire Department.
“All coming together, one big family, if something happens, we lose a firefighter, we have a big get together everyone shows up,” said Schmautz.
Firefighters who knew him described Kogel as a leader who was always ready to lend a helping hand and someone who cared about his community. Chief Kogel was 48 years old.
He had been a member of the fire department since he was 18.