homepage logo


Communities rally in support of injured deputy

By Staff | Sep 5, 2010

Casey’s General Store manager Bert Howard waits on a customer in Winnebago. The cards of support, and donation can with Todd Duit’s picture on it, are on display to the left of the convenience store counter.

Although he remains in critical condition at a Kentucky hospital ICU, Faribault County deputy Todd Duit has awakened from an induced coma.

“His eyes are open. He’s not responding to anyone, but he’s able to move his eyes from side to side,” friend Bert Howard of Winnebago told the Register on Monday.

Howard says she tries to keep in daily contact with Duit’s wife Jody, who has been at the hospital with her daughter Jessica since her husband was admitted.

On Wednesday, Jody Duit called the Register.

Duit, a registered nurse at the Mankato Clinic and at United Hospital District in Blue Earth, works in urgent care, so she knows the long road to recovery her husband faces.

“We’re absolutely thrilled he’s improving. But, we’re scared. We don’t know what the future will bring,” she says.

Jody says the family is overwhelmed by support and generosity shown by local residents.

Duit says she’s heard local churches are offering prayers for her husband, as are congregations in Kentucky.

“I’m a firm believer in prayer … prayers can move mountains,” she says. “It’s amazing how quickly people organized to help us. That’s something you don’t really expect.”

The 41-year-old Duit was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident on Aug. 17 on Interstate 64, near Frankfort, Ky.

According to authorities, Duit was thrown from his motorcycle after swerving to avoid a car that had lost control in front of him and crashed into a concrete wall.

He was airlifted from the scene to the medical center in Lexington.

Howard, who manages the Casey’s convenience store in Winnebago, began placing canisters in area businesses about a week ago to help the Duit family with daily living expenses.

“A little girl had a handful of money and asked if she could put it in the container,” says employee Michelle Weringa. “She must have had nearly two dollars.”

“It makes me tear up when I see little kids give their money,” adds Howard.

It was March 2009 when Howard first met Duit through mutual friends.

“I lost my brother eight years ago and he has filled a void in my life,” she says. “He’s been like the brother I lost. I respect him and his wife Jody and would do anything for them.”

In all, 19 containers are located at 12 businesses in Winnebago, Blue Earth and Wells.

Howard says residents have been very supportive and have asked her what they can do to help.

“Todd has always been willing to help others and do things for the community,” she says. “It’s our turn to help him and his family.”

At the Winnebago Casey’s, customers may also sign one of four ‘get-well’ cards taped to a large, white construction board located by the cash registers.

Howard says the cards will be mailed soon and she plans to continue collecting signatures.

Anyone wanting to send Duit a card can mail it to:

University of Kentucky Hospital

Todd Duit 210 ENS-ICU

800 Rose Street

Lexington, Ky. 40536

Donations may be made in Winnebago at Casey’s, Brickhouse Pizza, MarketPlace Foods, Financial Bank, BEVCOMM and Dairy Queen; Juba’s, Shell Mart, Don’s Fleet Supply Co, Wells Fargo and Wells Federal banks in Blue Earth; and Casey’s in Wells.

Also, donations to a nationwide Wells Fargo Bank fund established for Duit may be dropped off at the bank in Winnebago.