As a result of the storms that went through the area, a volunteer fireman from west-central Minnesota perished Thursday evening while on his way to storm-watching duty.
Kandiyohi County Sheriff Eric Holien confirmed Ryan Leif Erickson, 63, as the storm’s casualty on Friday. When a big grain bin was blown over by severe winds and fell on Erickson as he was prepared to leave his farm to monitor storms near Blomkest, he died in the line of duty.
According to a press release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, the call to the remote Lake Lillian property at roughly 7 p.m. Thursday reported Erickson missing after the bin blew down.
According to the press release, emergency responders arrived to search and spotted Erickson under the fallen grain bin. The corpse of Erickson was sent to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey.
Erickson has been an active member of the Blomkest community since he was a child. Blomkest City Clerk Barbara Gilberts says he started volunteering as a fireman when he was 18 years old. He was also a former fire chief, having served in that capacity for around five years.
According to Gilberts, he was also the previous owner of Erickson Plumbing and Heating, but he just sold his company and was working at Perkins Lumber.
“He was well-known for his involvement in several activities. He was one of the first volunteers for everything you needed,” Gilberts said, noting that he was a township board member and a member of the rural power board. “He was an advocate for small-town living. He cared about his community and was actively involved.”
He was well-known for his ingenuity, and as a result, he was usually the final float in the Blomkest parade. He also enjoyed golfing and could be spotted on the course in his leisure time, according to Gilberts.
Erickson is survived by his wife Kelly, two kids, and four grandchildren.
“I believe that if you want to make a difference, you must participate, and that is exactly what he did,” Gilberts added.