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Hundreds gather for visitation to honor Durand firefighter Kyle Hayden

Durand (WQOW) – Hundreds gathered for a visitation Sunday evening at the Rhiel Funeral Home in Durand, to honor a fallen hero, firefighter Kyle Hayden, who died early last week.

Related Story: Man killed in Pepin County rollover crash was Durand firefighter

“Kyle, he brought a smile to your face,” said Dan Pfaffe, Durand firefighter and chaplain.

On May 13, Hayden died unexpectedly from heart failure. It happened while he was driving on State Highway 85, causing him to crash.

“Our department is grieving right now and it is difficult, but we also know that, through experience, when things like this happen, it also draws us closer together,” said Pfaffe.

And it drew the entire community closer, as hundreds gathered Sunday to remember their fallen hero.

“His brother told me that one of the proudest moments of his life was having gone through his firefighter one training and he was looking so much forward to the future. And that happiness came through him and that was very clear,” said Pfaffe.

But it wasn’t just clear to his family and his fellow firefighters. It was clear how much Hayden meant to the entire community.

“Truly I can say the community is sharing in our grief too, but that’s also from which we draw comfort,” said Pfaffe.

And that comfort and support could be seen on Sunday.

“We’ve received all kinds of expressions of love and support and it does make being part of this department a really wonderful aspect of being part of the community,” said Pfaffe.

Pfaffe said being apart of a small town is like being a part of a family that gives each other strength to get through hard times and to remember the good ones.

“We hope now that through this experience, Kyle’s love, his good-natured humor, these things will be something we’ll be able to preserve in his memory,” said Pfaffe.

Durand Fire Chief Jamey King would like to thank the community for the support the department continues to receive. A Celebration of Life for friends and family will be held Monday morning at the Rhiel Funeral Home.

Carly Swisher

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