The real me is caring‚ kind and courteous‚ filled with emotion. Loving and doing anything I can for my friends. The real me is not afraid to tell you how it is‚ and be blunt when you ask. The real me most of all likes to have fun‚ whether it be bike riding‚ dirt bikes‚ camping or cruising around town‚ anything to have fun. But having fun is not possible without having someone to share it with. Whether it is a friend or someone a little bit closer. Without friends‚ I might not be so caring‚ so kind‚ so many emotions‚ and without friends‚ I don’t think that I could be The Real Me.
When Rich was 3 years old‚ we were on a camping trip‚ and as we were sitting around camp‚ Rich looked around and said‚ ‘we need to go and meet our neighbors!’ And the rest of his life was like that. Everywhere he went he made friends.
In his early years Rich loved to build forts and go-carts‚ dig deep holes and do many other adventurous things. He and his friends developed a clever way to run wire between their houses to create an intercom system. Their creativity never ended. In later years they would move on to working on motorized vehicles. Rich with the help of his friends and the school automotive shop‚ rebuilt his ’69 Ford Mustang which he bought and financed by working and saving money. Other high performance parts where added as Rich developed an interest for racing.
Reading was a deep love of Rich’s‚ especially before drifting off to sleep. The family looked forward to listening to mom read a book during long vacation drives to help pass the time‚ and distract Rich from asking ‘are we there yet?’ He also cherished music and was taught of it’s ability to sooth and bring people together. Rich took piano lesson for seven years‚ played the saxophone through middle and high school‚ and was self teaching the guitar and loved to sing. Rich also took pleasure in getting dressed up in a suit and attending cultural events in downtown Portland with his family and friends.
Rich grew up watching and helping his dad and grandfather‚ who where always building or fixing things. Rich collecting baseball cards‚ assorted car parts and a few other items‚ but his aptitude and interest was in doing things. Rich started working in high school. One of his career highlights was helping to recover NASA space shuttle parts from the recovery project.
Rich would call home‚ on his cell phone‚ when working out of town and would talk of his hopes and dreams. His sights were set on Forest Service pursuits and education in this field.
Rich’s sights were set on Forest Service pursuits and education in this field. 2002 was Rich’s first fire season‚ he talked a lot about his work‚ what it was like and all the different experiences he encountered. But the most striking thing he said‚ was how the people in the town’s near by where they were working‚ would show their appreciation for the work the fire crews were doing‚ and how he felt that what he was doing was making a difference in other peoples lives. To all of you‚ we would like to convey are heartfelt appreciation for your caring spirit.
From the first time we held our tiny blue eyed baby boy‚ he began to brighten our lives‚ now we say goodbye to a young man‚ who has given us 21 years of joy‚ pride‚ laughter and most of all love‚ a pearl has grown in our hearts that we will have with us for the rest of our lives.
Leland Price‚ Jr.‚ was born in Santa Cruz‚ California‚ December 30‚ 1976. He was better known to family and friends as David. David was a young man who touched everybody’s life that he came into contact with. He left his mark on each and every person that he ever met. If he could help anybody in any way‚ he was right there doing it.
David loved the outdoors; he couldn’t stand to be inside during the day. During the day‚ he enjoyed dirt bike riding‚ remote control aviation‚ and mechanics. It didn’t matter if he didn’t know you or if you were an old friend. He could talk your ear off for hours.
David was a seasonal firefighter who absolutely loved every minute of it. He had worked for First Strike a few years ago‚ and said that he was addicted to it. This year was the second year in a row that he worked for the company. He was born to be a helper of society and he was!
David died August 24‚ 2003‚ when the van that was bring him and part of his crew home collided with a semi. At the time of his passing‚ David was currently working on crew number 3.
David left behind his wife‚ Tiffany Price‚ his mother‚ Suzie Barto‚ his father‚ Leland Price‚ Sr.‚ and his brother‚ Lance Price. He also left behind a large extended family and many‚ many friends. All of his loved ones miss him dearly.
Ifyou knew David and you’re reading this‚ I invite you to share your thoughts and memories of him.
Mark was a very energetic kid who liked to be outside working and playing. He tried a variety of jobs‚ but finally found his niche with the wildland firefighting. He liked the hard work and traveling to different places. Every time he came home he had stories to tell…after he had a shower and eight hours of sleep. He really appreciated his bed after being on the ground for a couple of weeks. He would bring a variety of t-shirts home from the various fires to show and tell us about. And after all the complaining about the food and/or conditions he just left‚ he would then proceed to start getting his gear ready for the next fire call.
Mark was born in Oregon on January 29‚ 1980. He lived his entire life in our small community of Myrtle Creek. As parents we were encouraging him to ‘get on with his life’ and he was starting to show more signs in that direction. He found a very nice girlfriend who was also a firefighter and she even skateboarded. He was happy!
This year‚ 2003‚ was Mark’s third year of fire fighting with First Strike Environmental of Roseburg‚ Oregon. He enjoyed the camaraderie among the guys and was having a good year with more responsibility by being a squad leader. One day‚ very pleased with himself‚ Mark told me he had a radio and could tell others what to do. Later we heard from his supervisors that he was doing a good job and watched out for his men. At one site‚ he was upset because other trucks were going too fast and throwing dust on his guys who were packing hoses. He personally dug a little trench (speed-bump) across the road and covered it with branches and waited for the next truck to come by. They all had a good laugh over that one. I think there are a great many Mark stories and I’ve only heard a few.
He spent time in Colorado in the summer of 2002 and also took part in the space shuttle recovery program in Texas. Every place he went seemed to widen his view. One day he was watching the travel channel and they were featuring the best resorts. He calls me over to tell me he had been to the one they were talking about. He said it was in Colorado and they got to go in there and eat ‘fire clothes and all.’ It impressed him when people showed appreciation of the firefighters. I told him they probably wouldn’t let him back in with his street clothes…Mark liked plaid cowboy shirts and well-worn loose jeans.
Mark was a hard worker who like to play hard‚ too. He enjoyed snowboarding‚ bicycling‚ rock climbing and his music. However‚ he spent most of his home time at the skateboard park and was always telling about the new moves and jumps he was practicing. He told me once that he had a lot of friends at the skate park‚ but it really didn’t become apparent until his friends held a memorial for him and Jesse (another firefighter lost in this crash). They also had a lot of stories to tell.
Mark and seven of his fellow firefighters perished in a fiery crash when the van they were in collided with a semi-truck on August 24‚ 2003‚ near Vale‚ Oregon. They were returning home from firefighting in Boise National Forest in Idaho. It has been a very difficult time for all of us.
A very impressive memorial service was held September 5 for our eight fallen firefighters. Each was honored and will be remembered for who he was. It was a great tribute to the firefighting community and to our son. Mark is loved and missed by us his parents‚ family and friends. He is‚ especially‚ missed by his sister‚ Kimberly. His beloved brother Michael (age 18) died in a traffic accident in 1994.
Kelly was the ‘little brother’ that was adopted into our family at the time of birth. He died August 26‚ 2003‚ in a van accident on the way home after fighting the ‘South Fork Fire’ in Idaho. Kelly is remembered as a good friend by many.
He was born in Portland‚ Oregon June 8‚ 1965. He was raised and lived his live in Beaverton‚ Oregon. Kelly loved the outdoors‚ including fishing and hunting. He‚ at times‚ found it difficult to find his ‘place’ in life. He did struggle with the difficulties in his life and as a result wanted his independence at an early age. Through all of this‚ Kelly seemed to be getting his life straightened out. He was a very hard worker and when he took on a job‚ he did it well. He enjoyed his job as a firefighter and because of this he made many friendships with his coworkers.
Kelly was preceded in death by his mother‚ Patricia J. Hammer‚ June 1984; his father Richard R. Hammer‚ died 4 months (December 2003) after Kelly’s death. He is survived by two sisters‚ Lori L. Kyser and Kim J. Carlson. Kelly will be truly missed by his sisters and all his friends. He is finally ‘free’ to live his life with those in his family and friends who have passed on.
Our son‚ Jeffrey Hengel‚ was 20 years old when he died in a van accident returning home from a fire in Idaho on August 24‚ 2003. He was a 6’7’‚ 260 lb. lovable man with a heart to match. He was very giving of himself and loved to see others happy.
He was an honor roll student‚ played baseball and some football‚ and was an excellent marksman. In high school he was an officer in FFA and traveled to Kansas City for the FFA National Convention. At the end of his senior year‚ he traveled to Germany for 8 weeks in the German exchange program. He was hoping to return there in the next year or two.
Jeff loved to cook. It was his passion from 4th grade on. So I wasn’t surprised when he wanted to pursue this after graduating from high school in 2001. He graduated from Western Culinary‚ Portland‚ Oregon‚ in November 2002 and did his externship in New Orleans at Arnaud’s‚ a well known five star restaurant.
In May 2003‚ he and a friend drove back home‚ stopping to see the Grand Canyon‚ Yellowstone Park‚ etc. He didn’t spend much time though‚ because he wanted to get home for his second season of fire fighting. He had worked for First Strike Environmental the summer before he went to culinary school from which he saved all his money to help put himself through school. This summer he was looking to save money for a trip to France. He also had signed up to go to Antarctica for a year to cook for the scientists which he was hoping to leave in October. But he also loved the outdoors and the comradeship with the other firefighters.
Anyone who knew Jeff remembered him for his big hugs. He would make anyone feel petite. If someone was hugging someone else‚ Jeff was right there to join in. He was always ready to help anyone who needed help. He was loyal to his friends and loved his only brother and sibling‚ Peter‚ very much. He was a very intelligent man‚ who‚ with God’s guidance‚ accomplished so much in his short life.
I miss us dancing together‚ the long talks‚ metal detecting‚ fishing‚ eating pizzas‚ wrestling and laughing. I miss his wisdom and playfulness. I miss the sound of his footsteps and his daily phone call home. And‚ as requested‚ I will add all of the nicknames which others remember him by–The Bear‚ Ogre‚ Otto‚ Wookie‚ Nutter Butter. He had definitely made the world a better place and he will forever be missed.
Jesse James was 22 years old and died August 24th‚ 2003. He was on his way home from fighting wildfires in Boise‚ Idaho. Seven of his crew passed away with Jesse.
Jesse went to work for First Strike Environmental the summer of 2001. He was so happy when he passed all the requirements to be a wildland firefighter. He loved his job and had his gear packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. In April of 2003 he went to Texas with many other crews to be a part of the Columbia Space Shuttle Recovery.
Jesse enjoyed the outdoors‚ camping‚ fishing‚ skateboarding and the guitar‚ but the light of his life was hid 3-year-old son‚ Kolby. He loved taking him to the park‚ teaching him to skateboard‚ play cars‚ or just spending quite time with him. Jesse’s friends can tell you‚ he spent a lot of time bragging about his son and how much he loved him.
Although Kolby is very young‚ he knows his Daddy is in heaven and he will see him again someday. He talks to him on the phone and asks him if he is having fun skateboarding in heaven. On Halloween Kolby dressed like a wildland firefighter‚ he was so cute!
Kolby’s mother‚ Sue and Jesse were no longer together‚ but maintained a good relationship. Just weeks before Jesse died‚ he and his girlfriend‚ Sonja went with Kolby‚ Sue and her boyfriend Brad‚ to the Douglas County Fair. They also all went to the Monster Truck Races.
Jesse was a loving father‚ son‚ and grandson. He is survived by his son‚ Kolby James‚ and Kolby’s mother Sue Hammond‚ and his mother‚ Laura James‚ all of Roseburg‚ Oregon. He also leaves his father Brian James and his wife Kay‚ of Medford‚ Oregon. Jesse’s Grandparents are Francis Berry of Klamath Falls and George and Donna Tarrant of Roseburg‚ who raised Jesse from the age of four‚ girlfirend Sonja Collins and many aunts‚ uncles‚ cousins and friends.
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