Waukon native Laura Larson honored at annual Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial

he name of Waukon native Laura Larson (seen near the middle of the above photo next to her own photo taped on the memorial) is etched in the marble Wall of Honor at the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, CO following her passing from ovarian cancer in May of this year. Larson's mother, Joanne Larson of Waukon, is pictured below during the annual Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Observance weekend held in Colorado Springs, CO September 20 making a "rub" on a commemorative sheet of paper to capture the image of her daughter's name on the memorial. Submitted photos.

Laura Larson, the daughter of Joanne Larson and the late Ralph Larson of Waukon and a 1986 graduate of Waukon High School, was one of 168 firefighters honored at the 28th Annual International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Observance held in Colorado Springs, CO Saturday, September 20.
Larson, a Captain of Engine 56 with the Omaha Fire Department, died in May of this year from ovarian cancer at the age of 46. Her death was classified as a line-of-duty death due to years of inhaling toxic smoke ruled as contributing to her cancer. Her name is now forever commemorated after being engraved in the marble wall of honor that is part of the overall Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial located in the shadow of Pike's Peak of the Rocky Mountains.
Larson began her career with the Omaha Fire Department December 11, 2000. In 2004, she was assigned to Engine 20 with the department, now known as Engine 5, which is a special operations assignment. As part of those special operations, Larson was trained in hazardous materials, high-angle rope rescue and trench rescue response, and she was also specially trained in rapid intervention for rescuing other firefighters.
In 2008, Larson was promoted to the rank of Captain after recording the highest score on the captain's promotions test. After several years of various roving captain assignments, she assumed the permanent assignment of Captain of Engine 56. Her entry in the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Observance publication reads: "She loved being a fire fighter and exemplified the attributes needed to be a great fire fighter. Laura served the Omaha community with integrity, dedication, strength, honor, compassion and courage."
The annual event typically honors fire fighters who have died in the line of duty from June of the previous year to June of the current year. This year also saw deaths of fire fighters honored as far back as 1976 from health ailments, such as cancer or heart attack, that were reasoned to be linked to their service as fire fighters. Of the 168 fallen fire fighters honored this year, just 23 of those deaths were actually a direct result of fatal injury suffered during emergency response efforts, the others were connected to health ailments associated with their service.