by Dennis Dalman
The post office in Avon will be named in honor of Kort Plantenberg, a young military veteran who died in a helicopter accident near Kimball on Dec. 5, 2019.
The Minnesota Legislature recently approved a bill to rename the post office to honor his memory. Sixth District House Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Otsego) authored the bill with seven other representatives joining him as co-authors.
“Kort embodied the very best of Minnesota,” Emmer said. “I am proud to honor his legacy by creating a living memorial to him in the community he called home.”
Minnesota National Guard Warrant Officer Plantenberg, 28, who grew up and lived in Avon, died with two friends and fellow veterans when their helicopter, a UH-60 Black Hawk, malfunctioned and went down at the edge of a farm field right on the outskirts of Marty, a small town south of Kimball. At the time, the veterans were conducting a maintenance test flight of the helicopter. The other two men who died in the accident were James A. Rogers, 28, of Winsted; and Charles P. Nord, 30, of Perham. They, too, will have post offices named in their honor, as provided for in a legislative bill authored by Seventh District Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Regal).
All three of those veterans served on a team doing helicopter emergency medical evacuations in Kuwait.
Plantenberg is the son of Laura and Steve Plantenberg of Avon. He left behind his girlfriend, Bryonna Anderson of Clovis, his trusted canine companion Max and countless friends and co-workers. He was known for his “quiet kindness, gentle strength and generous spirit.”
From an early age, Plantenberg was fascinating by helicopters and flying. He graduated from Albany High School and then from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where he earned a degree in criminology. He went on to work for the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department as a correctional officer.
Plantenberg was also an avid hunter and fisherman, a lifeguard, a ski-patrol member and represented the Minnesota Biathlon Team for the Army National Guard.
He enlisted in the Guard in 2016 and became an aircraft technician and served a nine-month deployment in Kuwait with an aerial medical evacuation unit. Upon his return home, he was hired as a federal technical mechanic at the Aviation Support Facility in St. Cloud. He was then chosen to start the state’s warrant officer program.
Plantenberg’s funeral was held Dec. 12, 2019 at St. John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville.