Celebration of Life Service Held Honoring Fallen First Responders

On Sunday, November 18th, a call for help from one hospital to another, resulted in the loss of three North Dakota heroes.

Today we remember the lives of Pilot Todd Lasky, Paramedic Chris Iverson and Nurse Bonnie Cook, who died serving the public. 

St. Alexius Health is calling the funeral service a joint celebration of lives. The Bismarck Event Center was packed with the families of these First Responders, lost in that air ambulance crash last Sunday night.

Also in the room, were over 200 emergency service personnel and it was open to the public as well.

The procession following the caskets included at least 43 first responding agencies from across the state. But it was easy to see how much these three were loved from the size of the families following them in.

The service was a positive one, meant to highlight the accomplishments of three people, who spent their lives willing to run toward danger, when most would run away.

Chris Iverson was more than a Paramedic.

Chaplain Bryan Hochhalter says he was, “The type a scared or sick, or injured individual would love to see coming through their door, the sort to whom parents would entrust their child.”

He was a father to three children.

Hochhalter addresses Iverson’s kids, “Brianna, Emma, Seth, while it’s difficult for any of us to know how to effectively advise you in your particular grief, I will say this, ‘Be proud.'”

Bonnie Cook took many trips from Bismarck to Williston to help babies in critical need.

Kilee Harmon gave Cook’s Eulogy.

She says, “She would not hesitate to drop everything at a moment’s notice. It was her favorite thing to do.”

Care-taking was always in Cook’s nature. She helped raise her 14 siblings, and has two kids and several grandchildren of her own.

Harmon adds, “Bonnie lived life to the fullest, and she died doing what she loved to do.”

Todd Lasky grew up working in his father’s shop in Minnesota. 

Chaplain Greg Carr says, “Todd was nine-years-old, and from that time forward, Todd liked to go fast.”

Chaplain Carr describes Lasky as meticulous in his work.

Carr says, “He would take every precaution. He would never take an unnecessary risk, and he would always make the safety of his passengers his top priority.”

Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford and University of Mary’s Monsignor James Shea also spoke.

Monsignor Shea says it takes utmost confidence and bravery to be a Bonnie Cook, a Todd Lasky or a Chris Iverson.

Instead of flowers, the families of Todd Lasky and Chris Iverson ask that donations be made to Starion Bank under Bismarck Air Medical. Bonnie Cook’s family requests donations be made out to the CHI Saint Alexius Health Foundation.

Although solemn, it was a beautiful moment to see the community gathered over three lives that will clearly hold a lasting impact.

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