Michael J. Paidar

Michael J. Paidar

Mike was born on January 31, 1967, to Joe and Donna Paidar. He grew up in Mechanicsville, Iowa, across the street from the fire station. He had a lifelong passion for firefighting that began at a very early age. Mike would pretend to be Paramedic Johnny Gage from his favorite show, Emergency! His dad even made him a homemade biophone so Mike could “call in” to Rampart General. Mike’s path to becoming a career firefighter paramedic was out of the ordinary but provided many entertaining stories at the fire stations.

Mike played basketball for St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa; he had fun with his teammates, and they enjoyed two National Tournament appearances. After college, he pursued a journalism career as a TV photojournalist for WQAD-TV Moline IL, KCRG-TV Cedar Rapids IA, and KSTP-TV St. Paul MN. Throughout his career, Mike covered many stories nationally and internationally. At KSTP, he won multiple Emmy Awards and was on staff when they earned NPPA’s Station of the Year in 1999.

Despite being an award-winning photojournalist, Mike knew his true calling. In 2005, he joined the Maple Grove Fire Department as an on-call firefighter. He completed the University of Iowa Paramedic Program in 2008 and joined the St. Paul Fire Department in 2011. It meant the world to Mike to have his father, a 22-year volunteer firefighter, pin his badge at the St. Paul Firefighter Academy graduation.

At 6′ 9″ tall, Mike physically made an impression on everyone. But it was more than just his tall stature that made him memorable; it was his love for his wife, children, and family, his faith in God, his meaningful friendships, humor, quick wit, culinary skills, and his enthusiasm for the fire service.

Mike was an incredibly good man with a huge smile and an even bigger heart. Whether parenting, coaching, mentoring, or teaching, Mike encouraged everyone to do their best, to enjoy the moment, and to see their full potential. He positively touched so many.

Mike was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on Valentine’s Day 2020, with his wife by his side. For six months, he courageously battled AML, always maintaining his optimism, his sense of humor, his love for family, and his desire to get back on shift at the fire department.

Mike passed away on August 26, 2020. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Julie; son, Matthew Paidar; daughter, Meghan Paidar; parents, Joe and Donna Paidar; sister, Susan (Darrell) Henricksen; nieces, Maddie, Danielle, and Katie Henricksen; in-laws, Bob and Joyce Hansen; brother-in-law, Kevin (Bobbi) Hansen; and nephews, Kyle and Seth Hansen.

Shane Michael Clifton

Shane Michael Clifton

Shane Michael Clifton was born October 6, 1976, and answered the “Last Alarm” on August 31, 2015, at age 38.

Shane had a fulfilling career as a high school football star in Del Ray Beach, Florida, and South St. Paul High School in Minnesota. He also enjoyed acting and was an avid member of drama club, pursuing his love of acting in college at St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota.

He displayed deep love and passion for family, country, and commitment as a first responder. His dedication and desire to serve his country and community were immense. Shane proudly joined St. Paul Fire in 2007, receiving his degree in paramedicine shortly after. He served in the military with valor for nine years, with two deployments to the Persian Gulf.

He demonstrated his desire to help others by accompanying the Community Health Initiative on two humanitarian missions to Haiti, one prior to and one immediately after the devastating earthquake in 2010.

Shane’s love of the outdoors was reflected in his camping trips to the North Shore of Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. He enjoyed frequenting these areas with family, friends, and fellow firefighters.

Shane is known and remembered by all for his extreme loyalty to family and friends. Always eager to help others, Shane openly offered a needed shoulder to lean on and willingly gave kind and sincere council or advice.

His last contribution to others was the donation of his tissue and eyes for research with Lifesource and the Minnesota Eye Bank.

He is deeply missed and loved by all who knew him. He is survived by his mother, Bonnie (Perry) Whitney, and father Michael “Mick” (Carol) Higgins. He leaves behind two wonderful daughters, Elise Clifton, age 9, and Finley Strauss, age 2; along with many family members, friends, and fellow first responders and firefighters.

Ramon Edward “Ray” Hain

Ramon Edward “Ray” Hain

Ray Hain was born on April 21, 1959, in Oak Park, Illinois, the son of Edward and Beverly Hain. His family moved to Minnesota when he was in sixth grade. Ray graduated from Alexander Ramsey High School in Roseville, Minnesota, in 1977. He married his wife, Gail, in 1986, and they have two daughters, Rachel and Sara.

At 6′ 6″ tall, Ray played basketball in high school and then for two years in college. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in business and philosophy. He was an avid bicyclist. He was also a talented and creative woodworker, and he gifted many people with beautiful pieces of wood furniture, intarsia art, and his own original Christmas nutcrackers and ornaments. Ray loved being outdoors and going camping, hiking, and on travel adventures with his family.

After working in the corporate world for many years, Ray was excited to join the St. Paul Fire Department in 1994. After completing the academy as one of the top recruits, he chose to work as a “pool” firefighter and EMT. One of his captains described him as “highly regarded and dependable. He knew when to be serious, but he was hilarious. He was upbeat and had a great attitude.” Ray thrived on the adrenaline rush of fighting fires and trying to save lives. He had deep respect and appreciation for all his firefighter brothers and sisters.

In 1997, Ray was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and heart failure resulting from his job duties as a firefighter and EMT. In November 1998, he was the miraculous recipient of a heart transplant. In 2009, Ray became increasingly sick due to the deterioration of the transplanted heart and the toll of taking anti-rejection medications for years. Even though he was not able to return to the work that he loved, the transplant allowed his life to be extended for 11 more precious years that he shared fully with family and friends. During that time he spent many generous hours volunteering for his daughters’ school and sports activities, as well as for his church and for others.

Ray is survived by his wife, Gail; daughters, Rachel and Sara; sisters, Sherry (Norb) Duval and Karen (Greg) Sitzmann; and brother, Steve (Jan) Hain.

Gary L. Skoglund

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