Shaking hands

Eden Prairie Fire Department Chief George Esbensen shakes hands with Chad Willard of Huber Funeral Homes & Cremation Services on Dec. 12. 

An employee of Huber Funeral Homes & Cremation Services has been honored for his efforts in responding to an Oct. 4 fatal plane crash in Eden Prairie.

Chad Willard of Huber Funeral Homes was presented with the Eden Prairie Fire Department's Award of Recognition during the Dec. 12 Eden Prairie City Council meeting.

"Mr. Willard's role in this emergency scene was invaluable," said Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen.

Philip Schaffer's, Fisher Horizon 2, an amateur-built experimental aircraft, crashed around 11:08 a.m on the south side of Resurrection Life Church, 16394 Glory Lane, minutes after Schaffer had departed from Flying Cloud Airport.

Schaffer, a 77-year-old Richfield resident was killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the fatal crash, the first Eden Prairie has had since 2009.

George, Chad, Nancy

Chad Willard of Huber Funeral Homes & Cremation Services was presented with the Eden Prairie Fire Department's Award of Recognition on Dec. 12. Pictured, from left, are Fire Chief George Esbensen, Chad Willard and Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens. 

Esbensen said on the day of the incident, Willard was working at the funeral home, which is next door to the church, and heard the commotion.

Willard was first on the scene and assessed the situation. He notified authorities, used a fire extinguisher from the funeral home to try reducing the fire and secured the scene until police and fire crews arrived.

After being presented with the award, Willard said he was accepting it on behalf of all first responders.

"On behalf of all your professional work, thank you," he said.

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