Submitted by his wife
Lonnie Wayne Nicklas was a member of the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department for over 10 years‚ serving as Chief at the time of his death. Lonnie was committed to the department‚ its members‚ and the community as a whole. During his tenure he obtained numerous certifications for various aspects of firefighting‚ safety‚ command and hazardous materials. In 2004‚ he received the ‘Most Outstanding Member’ Award for his contributions and dedication to the department. He was also given a special appreciation award from the membership in 2004.
When I think of my husband’s life‚ three words come to mind – creative‚ spontaneous and provider. Lonnie was often referred to as ‘MacGyver’ because of his uncanny ability to make something out of nothing. He was always fixing something with little or no parts by making what he needed‚ whether it be mechanical or technical it did not matter. If he had the thought or idea‚ he would produce the item‚ whatever it was. As for him being spontaneous‚ Lonnie lived his life in the moment. He often said‚ ‘Tomorrow is not here yet‚ make the most out of today.’ He was confident and proud in his accomplishments and looked forward to the next challenge. When I think of what he provided for us and our family I am still awestruck. He was a man of his word‚ he promised to care and protect this community and this department and he did. It was his dedication and commitment that helped bring our department up to where it needed to be. He gave time‚ energy‚ materials‚ money and supplies to help wherever it was needed. He was involved with every aspect of the department‚ from responding to calls‚ writing SOP’s and bylaws‚ assisting with grants‚ benefits‚ fundraisers‚ building an office for the department‚ maintaining the trucks and equipment‚ building floats for parades‚ building haunted houses‚ teaching fire safety‚ and working closely with our Junior Department. He taught us about being proud of who we were and what it took to keep that pride and respect.
Away from the department‚ Lonnie enjoyed car races‚ fishing and being outdoors. You could find him tinkering on some project or listening to his favorite songs while relaxing at the outdoor bar/deck he built. One of his favorite pastimes was drinking coffee and visiting with friends at ‘Sally’s’‚ our local caf_. Many of his ideas were thought out and planned over a good cup of coffee and friendly conversation.
Lonnie W. Nicklas‚ 39‚ passed away very suddenly from a heart attack on February 24‚ 2005‚ after working on a sliding storage unit for the ‘Jaws of Life’ tools. He is survived by his wife‚ Cindy; son‚ Lonnie E. Nicklas; and step-daughter Nicole Wade.