The Montana Air National Guard’s fire department is mourning the passing of one of its own - Captain Glenn Gasvoda, who died suddenly on November 27th. Gasvoda was a 28-year veteran with the department.
"Just surreal to hear that he was gone,” said 120th Fighter Wing Fire Department Capt. Nick Hackett. "If you needed to know something, he was one of the guys that you just could go to and he'd have the back knowledge on why we did it that way or the way things worked around here."
Gasvoda, 57 years old, had a heart attack and died while he was hunting, according to his obituary.
His death is especially hard for Hackett, having known Gasvoda almost his entire life. "He's the reason I got on in the department up here. He showed me the department when I was about 16 years old. I grew up with his two sons. He was on my first shift up here and I worked with him on and off,” Hackett said.
Senior Lt. Ben Hilpert said Gasvoda was a good friend and a "guy's guy." "He loved life. He was always happy. He was a mentor. I looked up to the guy and we had a lot in common. we had a relationship bot on and off duty, you know, so it's like you lost a brother.”
The fire department will conduct a funeral procession with firetrucks on Saturday afternoon from Schnider Funeral Home to the cemetery.
Gasvoda's death is also an important reminder. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sudden cardiac death is the most common nature of injury for firefighters.
"We follow NFPA up here very closely. It's one of the ones where we make sure we get our hour workout in every shift that we're here, watching what we eat and everything so that we can be in (as good of shape) as we possibly can. We just have to make sure that we as individuals are making sure that we take care of ourselves,” Hackett explained.