Appleton remembers two-year anniversary of fallen firefighter Mitch Lundgaard

NOW: Appleton remembers two-year anniversary of fallen firefighter Mitch Lundgaard

APPLETON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's been two years since an Appleton firefighter was killed in the line of duty. Though time has passed, the Appleton community still remembers the service and life of firefighter Mitch Lundgaard.

"Mitch was actually going to school to be an architect that was his calling and then after September 11th and he saw the noble sacrifice of the 343 firefighters from the FDNY... he changed his career path"  said Chief Jeremy Hansen of the Appleton Fire Department.

Lundgaard instead became an Appleton firefighter.

Tragically on May 15 2019, Mitch Lundgaard was killed in the line of duty when assisting a man who had been revived from a drug over dose opened fire.

"Its important as a community that we recognize the sacrifice that driver engineer Lundgaard made for our community," Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford said. "Its also important for us as community not to take for granted the risks that our first responders take every single day."

"I think for a lot of the people on the fire department. We didn't have time to reflect on what occurred until after the service" said Hansen.

From sun up to sundown, on the anniversary of his passing, family friends and firefighters take shifts at Mitch Lundgaard's gravesite.

"Every May 15th since the tragedy occurred we do a sit with Mitch," Hansen said. "And its just to pay tribute to him and its just to make sure that he has a fellow firefighter brother or sister with him all day long."

As Lundgaard's memorial service somberly closes out police week, the Appleton Fire Department also remembers Appleton police officer Paul Christensen injured in that shooting as well.

Both police and fire are brothers and sisters doesn't matter what uniform we wear," Hansen said. "We operate together every single day. We respect each other and we sacrifice for each other."

"Mitch is a community hero...he laid his life on the line for 14 years... every single day he came to work knowing that it could be his last and he did that cause he cares about the community" Hansen said.

Mitch Lundgaard is survived by his wife Lindsey and three sons.

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