Last Fire Call observed in honor of fallen firefighters
Nearly 200 people attended the Last Fire Call Friday morning, recognizing the efforts of firefighters, past, present and future.
Hosted by Len and Janet Parker, owners of Minden Air Corp., the ceremony at the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center in Minden, featured a water drop.
“It’s real simple,” said Len Parker. “I don’t think our firefighters, men and women, get the recognition they deserve.”
“Every time one of these planes take off, it’s just like a fire engine leaving the station.”
Parker piloted the Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune plane Friday that made the 2,100 -gallon drop, along with co-pilot Tim Christy.
Walt Kesteloot of East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts and Jim Richardson and Bob Autry of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office were the color guard. The Last Fire Call was held to commemorate the firefighters from Douglas County who lost their lives in the line of duty. Steve Wass, 42, of Gardnerville, crew Craig LaBare, 36, of Loomis, Calif., and Michael H. Davis, 59, of Bakersfield, Calif., died June 18, 2002 during the Cannon Fire in Walker, Calif.
Minden Air Corp. employees, pilot captain Carl Dolbeare, 54, of Chandler, Ariz., and co-pilot John Attardo, 51, of Fort Collins, Colo., were killed Oct. 3, 2002, when their P2V air tanker crashed in Southern California while they were assisting at a fire in Arizona.
The ceremony also honored Minden Air Corp. pilot Jim Reynolds, 54, who died February 22, 2004 of leukemia. His son Greg Reynolds, 30, of Portland, Ore. attended the Last Fire Call.
“I wanted to be here to say good-bye to my dad,” he said.
The Wass family, including Steve’s parents Chet and Janet Wass of Gardnerville, brother and sister-in-law Jeff and Jodi Wass, sister Terry and his nieces and nephews Shannon, 13, Jessika, 10, Jaden, 8, and Jakota, 11 months, attended the Last Fire Call.
“I think its quite an honor to recognize the pilots,” said Chet Wass. “I am very pleased with all the support.”
Following the ceremony, many in attendance toured the 1950-era Neptune which is still used for fire fighting today.
Regina Purcell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 211.