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Mitchell Ruska ( McCall 1963 )

posted: Nov 10, 2010

Mitch, 67, died Oct. 29, 2010, in McCall. Upon graduating from McCall High School in 1961, he took a job with the U.S. Forest Service, then trained to become a smokejumper in 1963. He enlisted in the Army in 1965, serving honorably in Korea with the 1st Cavalry, 2nd Division. He returned to jumping in McCall for the 1967-69 seasons before injuring his knee. Mitch took a job at the Port of Entry and later attended the state's police academy, from which he was hired as a state trooper. He earned the nickname "The Mad Russian" from truckers due to his stern enforcement of highway laws; he once stopped three trucks at one time. He developed the "Just Say No" drug-prevention program along with the McCall Optimist Club.