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Ranger who died at Horsetooth Reservoir honored with boat procession

Ranger Brendan Unitt was on patrol and drowned a year ago while responding to a call for distress due to a strong wind event.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A procession to honor a late park ranger who died a year ago at Horsetooth Reservoir took place Friday, with more than 35 boats on the water, according to the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (LCDNR.)

>> The video above is from 2020: Coworkers remember Ranger Brendan Unitt who drowned while on duty

Brendan Unitt, 27, went missing on Aug. 20, 2020, at Horsetooth Reservoir while responding to a call about a person in distress due to an unexpected strong wind event, LCDNR said.

Search crews found his boat on the water but could not find him. It's believed Unitt was pulled underwater while trying to reach his boat that had likely been pulled from the shoreline due to the winds.

His body was recovered from the water about 3:30 a.m. the next morning.

Members of the community were invited to the line of the reservoir Friday to pay their respects to Unitt, and watch the boat procession at 6 p.m.

“While it has been nearly one year since Brendan was with us, we are continually humbled by his impact on our community,” said Mark Caughlan, Horsetooth Reservoir district manager. “He will never be forgotten.”

The boat procession traveled from South Bay to Rotary Park.

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