Late this week, the St. Louis Rescue Squad posted a vague, but disturbing post on their Facebook page, stating "Friends, we are devastated and would appreciate your prayers. We will return when we're ready."

Community members were instantly concerned, flooding the squad with comments of concern and prayers as everyone wondered what was going on within the squad. Very early Friday morning they provided a devasting update.

St. Louis County Rescue Squad member Debra "Deb" Slatten, matriarch of the Rescue Squad, and wife of their captain, Rick, died suddenly of a cardiac event at the age of 63. They note the shockingly unexpected nature of her passing as "she was thin, athletic, and seemingly in perfect health when something went catastrophically wrong."

Deb was a 36-year retired sheriff's deputy sergeant. Deb thought up "projects"--ideas about Squad improvements from little to big that she ran with and made reality. She was an accomplished seamstress, stained glass artist, sand carver, and laser cutter. Deb made beautiful things and other things beautiful--usually with her own money--and the Squad is a better place and the world more beautiful because of Deb.

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The squad plans on honoring Deb by gathering around Rick and each other and then continuing their mission to find the missing, care for the injured, and respectfully recover the dead. They welcome prayers from the community as they process this loss and move forward as a team.

The St. Louis County Rescue Squad has been serving the residents of St. Louis County and Northeast Minnesota since 1958.

They have never charged for their search and rescue service. They understand that mistakes happen and they want to help when they do. They are funded by generous donations from the residents and businesses of St. Louis County.

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