By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — County Attorney Mike Freeman honored a list of county employees Wednesday for going above and beyond. Among them were a handful of first responders who responded to the Minnehaha explosion: Dean Milner, Tom Arneson, Mark McClun and Dr. Donna Harris

It’s a scene many a Minnesotans won’t forget but Officer Millner and his partner Officer Greg Kosch saw it up close.

“When we pulled up, words couldn’t describe what we saw.” Officer Millner said Wednesday. “We just kind of went into the mode, without even speaking to each other, we just knew what we needed to do.”

And on this day, they and other first responders were honored for what they did. Tom Arrneson is an attorney with Hennepin County, at a packed ceremony Wednesday, he introduced the first responders.

“While most of the people at the school were wisely running away from the building, police officers and fire fighters ran toward the danger,” Arrneson said.

Officer Milner and his partner rescued a man from a pile of burning rubble.

“At that moment, something was overwhelming to me where I thought, ‘You know, what if I don’t live through this? Lord, I hope my kids understand why we did this,'” he said.

Firefighter Mark McClun explained why.

“There is something in the human spirit and soul that causes someone to subject themselves to have less, so that someone else might have more, and the capability and the desire to fill that,” he said.

It’s desire that the leader of the heartbroken school so deeply appreciates — the president of Minnehaha Academy, Dr. Donna Harris, showed up to hug the first responders.

“They were there for us, and the courage they shared and showed and the support they gave us was just amazing,” she said.

The first responders were surrounded by their bosses, their mothers, their spouses and children. Some were reluctant to even be at the ceremony — they felt they were simply just doing their job.


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