Submitted by his mother
1/16/78 – 10/02/04
Daniel ‘Dan’ Holmes was born January 16‚ 1978‚ in Springfield‚ MA. He was the son of Dee Burke and Raymond Holmes‚ the brother of Matt Holmes.
In 1984‚ Dan‚ his mother‚ and brother moved to Rochester‚ NH. He attended Rochester schools. graduating in 1996 from Spaulding High. An athlete all his life‚ he played soccer‚ Little League and Babe Ruth baseball‚ and later excelled as a varsity Hockey and Football player at Spaulding.
In addition to his love of athletics‚ he grew up enamored with everything related to the outdoors. He appreciated every aspect of the wilderness whether as an athlete camping‚ hiking‚ snowboarding‚ mountaineering and bouldering or in his academic pursuits. He graduated from Johnson State College in VT with a BA in Environmental Science in 2000. Those years were marked by concerts‚ hikes and climbs throughout VT and NH‚ with an ever deepening love for the wilderness and by an ever growing circle of close friends.
In recent years‚ he accomplished many a little boy’s dream by combining his outdoor adventures with his passion to protect the environment by becoming a park ranger with the National Park Service. He sought the wild natural areas of the West to begin this latest chapter in his life as he began his NPS career at Mt Rainier‚ WA. In 1999‚ Dan went to Mt. Rainier as a volunteer with the Student Conservation Association‚ as a back country ranger‚ and fell in love with ‘the’ mountain and the Pacific Northwest. He went back for 4 more seasons‚ working as a back country ranger‚ back country utilities crew member‚ and a trail crew member. While at Mt. Rainier‚ Dan was able to achieve another dream‚ he summited the mountain several times. He spent June of 2002 at Denali National Park as a volunteer member of a NPS search and rescue team on the mountain and was able to summit Denali‚ too. During those seasons he also did wildland fire fighting rotations and became skilled at firefighting as his experience grew.
Dan spent the winter of 2004 establishing residence in WA ‚ where he met his love‚ Jules‚ and started looking into grad school. It was then that he applied to and was accepted as a member of the NPS’s Arrowhead Hotshots‚ an elite crew that selects only the best of the best for fighting fires anywhere in the country. Dan was so proud and excited to be a part of Arrowhead! He was with his Arrowhead brothers and sisters on Oct. 2‚ 2004 when a part of a large tree unexpectedly broke off during a firing operation and ended Dan’s too brief life.
People who knew and loved Dan speak of his infectious smile or his laugh‚ the twinkle in his eye‚his wonderful hugs. Everyone considered Dan a brother‚ a son‚ or simply someone we loved. He drew people in and held on to them. It’s been said that when Dan was in the woods‚ or on a mountain he was like poetry in motion‚ he was respectful and caring of the environment‚ and always excited by the beauty that waited around each bend on the trail. He was an adventurer from the word go‚ he never skipped one‚ and he dedicated himself to enjoying and preserving our natural environment. He really wanted to’make a difference’ and he did!
Dan will be missed by his large and loving family‚ his wonderful girlfriend‚ Jules‚ and the many‚ many friends he made all along the way. Peace‚ Love and Mountains‚ my son. We will never forget.