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Town, MnDOT mourn lost worker in flood accident

CLEVELAND -- Wade Adams worked with Mike Struck for five years at the state highway department. He called Struck a leader and the kind of guy who always kept people smiling.

"He was always in a light mood around work," Adams said. "He was a great guy, dedicated father. As far as work goes, he was there for anybody that needed help."

Struck, 39, died Tuesday when the backhoe he was operating tipped over and fell into the stream at Seven Mile Creek County Park. His body was then pulled downstream toward the Minnesota River, surging along the east side of Highway 169. His body was found Wednesday 25 yards off the highway in about 10 feet of water.

A memorial education and college fund has been set up at Nicollet County Bank in St. Peter for Struck's children, Kaylee, 6, and Gavin, 4.

Cleveland is in mourning over Struck's death. He was a beloved member of the community and city's volunteer fire department. In that role, he earned a reputation as a dedicated watchman for the city; he was the first EMT on the scene when a 19-year-old Cleveland man collapsed while jogging.

Adams says Struck's coworkers at the Minnesota Department of Transportation are just as devastated.

"He was one of the guys that was always out running the equipment," Adams said. "He was a leader. He helped out with everything."