Durango to mourn Blue Angels pilot Jeff Kuss on Saturday

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Durango to mourn Blue Angels pilot Jeff Kuss on Saturday

Mother: ‘He was way more than a pilot’
To donate

A GoFundMe site has been set up to benefit the family of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, a Durango native.
The fundraiser was set up by Kuss’ sister-in-law, Nicole Perino.
“Captain Kuss made the ultimate sacrifice and has left behind his precious wife, Christina, and two small children, Calvin, 4, and Sloane, 1,” the page reads. “This family needs all of our support and Jeff is a true American hero who saved the lives of thousands in this terrible tragedy. Jeff was born and raised in Durango, Colorado, and learned to fly before he could drive.”
By Tuesday afternoon, 3,360 donors had contributed more than $271,000 toward the goal of $500,000.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/jeffkuss.
Also, the International Council of Air Shows has established a fund for the family, according to its website. The organization provides financial assistance to members of the air show community after a death or other catastrophe. Donors may contribute money to the Capt. Jeff Kuss Foundation at www.icasfoundation.org.

If You Go

The schedule for Capt. Jeff Kuss’ services has been established:
TuesdayPensacola flyover: 5:45 p.m. CDT. Fat Albert, the Blue Angels’ C-130 Hercules, has been renamed No. 6, Kuss’ flight number, Kuss’ mother, Janet Kuss, said. Accompanied by one F/A-18 Hornet, the planes the Blue Angels fly, No. 6 flew over downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key, Florida, to bring his body to Naval Air Station Pensacola, the Blue Angels’ home base. Blue Angels Lead Solo Lt. Ryan Chamberlain flew the Hornet.
ThursdayMemorial service: 11 a.m. CDT at the Naval Air Station Pensacola Chapel. “It will be a full-on military ceremony, with military honors and a military chaplain,” Kuss’ mother, Janet Kuss, said. “Jeff was a detail guy, and he would have wanted all the details.” A candlelight vigil is planned for 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola.
Friday
Return to Durango: No. 6 will fly Kuss’ body home to the Durango-La Plata County Airport. The family prefers a private return, his mother said.
SaturdayMotorcade: Beginning at 11 a.m. on 32nd Street, a motorcade will drive along Main Avenue south to College Drive. It will run west on College to Camino del Rio, where it will turn right and proceed to the 9th Street Bridge, where it will turn left and go to Greenmount Cemetery. Residents are encouraged to line the motorcade route. Road closures and traffic delays are likely, but the Durango Police Department is working out the details on managing the 4-mile route, Lt. Ray Shupe said.
Graveside service: The service – and the cemetery – will be closed to the public, but residents may hear the 21-gun salute. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, the famous Checkerboards and Kuss’ unit before the Blue Angels, will fly over in the Missing Man formation. The Rim at Fort Lewis College will be one good viewing point for the flyover.
Reception: 2-4 p.m. at the Student Union at Fort Lewis College. The family will receive friends. “I want to greet the public and give a handshake or a hug to everyone,” Janet Kuss said, “to help the community heal.”

Durango to mourn Blue Angels pilot Jeff Kuss on Saturday

Capt. Jeff Kuss, holding his children Calvin, 4, and Sloane, 1, talks to his wife, Christina, in this undated photo. Kuss, a pilot with the Blue Angels, died Thursday in a plane crash in Smyrna, Tennessee, and his service will be held Saturday in Durango.
Jeff Kuss playing on the Durango High School varsity tennis team shown in the DHS Toltec yearbook. The caption said: “While doubles can be a very stressful job, Sr. Jeff Kuss sets an excellent example for the rest of the team through quiet leadership. Jeff’s doubles partner was Jr. Jess Monn.”
Capt. Jeff Kuss, a pilot with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, was selected to fly with the best of the best – the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. Kuss joined the Blue Angels for the 2015 season.
Jeff Kuss is shown in an ad in the back of the Durango High School Toltec yearbook.
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