William Richard ‘Dick’ Danes was born January 9‚ 1943‚ in Hackensack‚ New Jersey. He and his parents moved to San Antonio‚ Texas‚ in 1953. He attended Texas A&M University‚ where he earned a degree in civil engineering in 1964. He was an Air Force reservist after graduation and pursued a civil engineering career for 43 years.
After he retired‚ he remained active in his community in many ways. Dick was a radio operator for BARC (Brazos County Amateur Radio Emergency Services) and ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services)‚ an active participant in the Citizen’s Police‚ Sheriff and Fire Academies‚ a member of the ‘Old Ag Lunch Bunch’ (an organization for former Texas A&M students)‚ and a volunteer firefighter for Brazos County Precinct 3.
Dick had a love of the fire service that he ventured into at different times in his life. At age four‚ his mother found him at the fire station a couple blocks from their home ‘visiting his buddies‚’ as he explained to her. After college he settled into his civil engineering career and started a family. After retirement he found his way into the fire department as a volunteer firefighter in Brazos County. He enjoyed his time at the station‚ in training and volunteering as a ‘victim’ to help train at ‘Disaster City’ at the TEEX (Texas A&M Engineering Extension Services) in College Station‚ Texas. His love of firefighting put a smile on his face during every training‚ demonstration‚ and his time at the station.
Shortly before his death‚ Firefighter Danes and Captain Merker took Engine 323 out to be displayed at a service demonstration for the Texas A&M chancellor. The Texas Forest Service was in attendance and captured a great picture of Firefighter Danes and Captain Merker which is now used as the face of the Texas Forest Service Volunteer Fire Department Support Campaign. The display was produced a month prior to Dick’s death‚ and was displayed for the first time a month after his death at the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas Conference‚ at which Dick was honored at the memorial service as a fallen firefighter line-of-duty death.
On May 17‚ 2012‚ Dick collapsed during training. His death was unexpected; however‚ he was doing what he loved‚ training with his brother firefighters in the line of duty at a ladder evolution training at Brayton Fire Training Field at TEEX.
Dick leaves behind his wife of 45 years‚ Betsy; son‚ Bill Danes‚ and daughter-in-law‚ Tracy; daughter‚ Mandy‚ and son-in-law‚ Ronnie Collins; grandchildren‚ Cody‚ Samantha‚ Tessa‚ and Hannah; and his faithful friend‚ Buddy‚ his dog.