Presho Community Mourns Fallen Fire Chief

PRESHO, S.D.-  The community of Presho is remembering their Fire Chief Donald Manger, who passed away while responding to the scene of a fire last weekend. Those close to him say he was the type of person who was always there for others. Earlier today hundreds paid tribute to him.

“Donnie was one of those guys you could count on, he didn’t ask for anything back,” says Former Presho Volunteer Firefighter, Joe Leichtnam.

It’s hard for Joe Leichtnam to find the words

“He will be missed,” says Leichtnam with tears in his eyes.

To describe his friend and Fire Chief Donald Manger. Leichtnam was a volunteer firefighter with Presho Fire Department for 12 years, that’s where he met Manger.

“He was a young firefighter at first worked his way up to chief,” says Leichtnam.

Leichtnam says it was Manger’s leadership and hard work that so many admired.

“To see it all come to an end like this is really just heartbreaking,” says Leichtnam.

The grief he’s experiencing is felt by others, who worked alongside him making the loss and pain unbearable.

“Donnie has been friends with everyone on here for a long time, so obviously it’s very hard,” says Presho Firefighter Ryan Husman.

Last Saturday while responding to a fire, Manger collapsed as he got out of his car at the scene. Those who served with him say the loss is still hard to come to grips with and that his dedication and drive will be hard to match.

“We usually respond to someone’s worse day and he always shows up calm, cool, and collected,” says Husman. “He never got rattled, just went ahead and did our job,”

As more than 50 fire departments paid tribute to their fellow brother, those closest to him say they know he’s smiling down.

“He’d be very proud, very amazing, very good people,” says Husman.

Manger was 54-years-old, he served on the Presho Fire Department for 35 years with 23 years as chief. He leaves behind three children. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has requested all flags fly at half-staff Thursday in honor of Manger. A memorial fund has been set up in Manger’s honor at Dakota Prairie Bank in Presho at 211 Main Sreet, or PO Box 190, Presho, SD 57568.

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