RAPID CITY, S.D. — As we approach Memorial Day and get ready to enjoy time outdoors, others are standing by, ready to save a life.
In its Swiftwater Exercise Thursday, the Rapid City Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team prepared for those water rescue and life-saving scenarios.
Water can be easily misread,” said Captain Keith Trojanouski, with Station 3 of the Rapid City Fire Department.
It may be hard to judge, but even in the slightest uncertainty, be alert.
“I was just working my guys in that white water and it’s chest deep moving at a fairly decent velocity, which is about 120 cubic feet today and it was pushing us around pretty decently,” Trojanouski said.
The exercise prepares these men, but it also serves as a stark reminder for some who lost someone they love.
Kori Ewing is the sister of Joshua Haugen, who lost his life in a tragic jet ski accident just over 20 years ago.
“Loving and kind…he was hilarious, he was kind of a jokester, and he was always willing to go out of his way to connect with people,” Ewing said.
In 2019, Josh’s family began a fundraiser for the Fire Department’s water rescue team.
Now in its third year, the family keeps putting it on, giving back and using their message to hopefully keep people safe.
“It means everything,” Ewing said. “We want to take the tragedy that our family has experienced and turn it into good.”
Josh’s family even gave the rescue team a boat — one with Josh’s name so that they remember who they continue to carry with them.
“It’s amazing that we can honor such a young man in the way that we do by carrying his name with us and we use it in a positive light,” Trojanouski said.