August 23, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

Special significance for service

Avon Post Office rededicated to Plantenberg

By MIKE KOSIK | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Words praising Kort Plantenberg’s love of family, friends and country were heard at the rededication of the Avon Post Office in his name Aug. 17.

“He was a friend to everybody,” said Jeff Manthe, Avon mayor, during the ceremony in front of the Avon Post Office.

Chief Warrant Officer Candidate Kort Miller Plantenberg, 28, a member of the Minnesota National Guard, lost his life Dec. 5, 2019, near Kimball in a helicopter accident. Also perishing in the crash were James A Rogers, 28, of Winsted, and Charles P. Nord, 30, of Perham.

Plantenberg, the son of Steve and Laura Plantenberg, grew up and lived in Avon and was a graduate of Albany Area High School.

Manthe, who is a part-time employee at the Avon Post Office, said his daughter, Molly, graduated from high school with Plantenberg in 2009.  

“She was devastated, as was I, as was everybody gathered here today and with so many in our whole area,” Manthe said about his death. “He served throughout his life and finally ended up as a soldier, a proud soldier to our nation.”

He added, “We know Kort is continuing to do what he always did – to be a friend, to serve and to love.”

U.S. Sixth District Rep. Tom Emmer and U.S. Seventh District Rep. Michelle Fischbach were instrumental in getting legislation passed to rededicate the Avon Post Office, and both spoke at the ceremony. Avon was once in the Sixth District but the most recent redistricting has it in the Seventh District.

The Albany American Legion Color Guard posted the colors to begin the program and to conclude the ceremony they rendered a rifle salute and retired the colors.

Emmer said Plantenberg “lived an amazing life.” 

“Every day in Avon, Minnesota, when we go back and forth to the post office, we’re all going to remember Kort and his family, which I think is incredibly important,” he said. “Kort was a true Minnesotan.”

Born in St. Cloud and raised in Avon, Plantenberg graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He became a Stearns County Sheriff’s Department correctional officer. He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard and served in Kuwait and Iraq with Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion.

Following his return, he was chosen for the warrant officer program with the goal of attending flight school.  

“What Kort did very few in our nation do,” Emmer said, referring to his service in the military. 

In mentioning the others who lost their lives along with Plantenberg, “we will never forget,” he said. They “gave their lives in service for all of us, all Minnesotans and to this great country. We will never forget their sacrifice.”

Emmer introduced legislation to rename the post office in honor of Plantenberg. The legislation was supported by Fischbach and every member of the Minnesota delegation; Republicans and Democrats voting for its passage.

“Thank you Steve and Laura, thank you for your sacrifice and son’s service,” Emmer said. “This is just a small thing that can be done.”

Fischbach said she was honored to work on the legislation to rededicate the Avon Post Office.

“You can tell he loved his friends and family, and they loved him because of the turnout today,” Fischbach said. “We can never do enough to honor him. Dedicating this post office is just one small step.”

U.S Sen. Amy Klobuchar could not be at the ceremony in person but spoke by cell phone. She thanked Emmer and Fischbach and said it was a team effort to get the post office named after Plantenberg.

“He lived a life of service,” Klobuchar said. “He answered the call of duty time and time again.”

When people go to the post office in Avon they will “forever remember his service and sacrifice,” Klobuchar said.

“Any time a post office is renamed in honor of a United States military veteran it is of special significance to public service,” said Angela Bye, Minnesota-North Dakota Post Office district manager. 

By renaming the post office “we pay tribute to (Plantenberg) and all other service men and women who make significant contributions and sacrifices to our country,” she said.

It takes an act of Congress and the signature of the President of the United States to make it happen.

“Only those individuals of the highest esteem are considered for this honor. (Plantenberg) is one such individual,” Bye said.


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