Remembering Sandra "Sandi" Rasmussen - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Remembering Sandra "Sandi" Rasmussen

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Thursday afternoon, hundreds of people attended Sandra "Sandi" Rasmussen's funeral, and followed a caravan to her favorite bar, the 13th Step.

Last Friday, 37-year old Rasmussen and her son were trapped in their home when it caught fire. A passerby heard Rasmussen calling out for someone to save her son, and managed to pull the teen from the blaze. Rasmussen did not make it out alive.  She leaves behind a husband and seven children.

Less than one week later, Rasmussen's loved ones are remembering her life, not her death. They're focused on supporting her husband and children, who are left now without a home, and more importantly, without a mother.

"She just made you feel like you mattered. It didn't matter where you came from, you mattered," said friend Stacy Little.

"She treated everyone like family. Whether she knew you or not, you walked in there, you were family," agreed Chris Drafahl.

If you count one's worth by how many people they touch, Rasmussen died a very rich woman.

"That's really what she did. She really made people feel like a part of something. When she left, I think a little bit of everybody here went with her," friend Steve Wilson added.

For the husband and seven children she left behind, her life was invaluable.

"My love, my love, I'm missing my love. My love's gone," husband David Rasmussen said, tearfully. "I don't think it's sunk in all the way yet. I put my wife to rest...she's resting now. She's watching over me."

Two weeks before her death, David gave his wife a necklace -- the key to his heart. Now, its with him again, and he has no intention of ever letting it go.

"That will always be in my pocket," he said.

She'll also remain in the hearts of hundreds of friends, who are fighting back tears to remember Rasmussen the way she'd want to be remembered.

"You put the smile on, but the tears are still there. She'd much rather have the smile," said friend Karen Metland.

"It's hard, but its joyous. I don't know if that makes any sense," said Wilson. "She's just going to be really missed.....really missed."

David Rasmussen said he's amazed by the amount of support he and his seven children have received from the community, but the Rasmussen's have a long way to go to repair their lives. If you'd like to help, The 13th Step is accepting donations on behalf of the family. Call them at (319) 232-6161, or stop by The 13th Step at 1607 Sycamore Street, Waterloo.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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