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"The best friend anyone could have:" Community donates thousands in honor of longtime Saukville EMT and firefighter

NOW: “The best friend anyone could have:“ Community donates thousands in honor of longtime Saukville EMT and firefighter

SAUKVILLE (CBS 58) -- Hundreds are giving back to help the family of a retired Saukville EMT and firefighter who recently passed. 

“Kurt - the best friend anyone could have," said Jason Staszko. 

Kurt Grade was well-known in the community and it was his kindness and sense of humor that touched so many. 

Throughout his life he wore many hats; he was a firefighter, EMT, emergency room technician, husband, dad and friend. 

Many recognized him from his pony tail. 

"He said it gave him magic powers," said Robin.

But it was his compassion for others that made him the most memorable.

"Everybody loved him and he had something extra special that drew people to him," said his wife, Robin Grade. 

Within the last year and half, he's been in and out of the hospital and on Friday, he passed away from surgery complications.

"He’s had five abdominal surgeries, multiple procedures, more than we can count, two heart attacks, one cardiac arrest," said Robin.

Through it all, Robin was there right by his side. 

"Everybody thought he’d get through this because he is such a fighter," said Robin.

He leaves behind his wife and two daughters, Nicole, 26, and Rylee, 5. 

"He's my rock, my best friend, " said Nicole. 

Nicole also worked alongside her dad as an EMT. 

“Watching him be in the ER and be an EMT I think I wanted to follow in his footsteps," she said. 

After his passing, his friend Jason set up a GoFundMe account to help the family.

"Whether it be funeral costs, college fund or work on the house, whatever Robin needs," said Jason Staszko.

Within 48 hours, hundreds of people donated and raised between $20,000 to $25,000. Now, it's more than $30,000. 

“It’s a true testament to how much everyone loved him," said Robin. 

Kurt's funeral will be on Saturday, December 22nd in Mequon. If you'd like to donate, click here. 

“I know he will always be with me," said Nicole. 

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