David was born in San Luis Obispo‚ California‚ on June 30th 1977. Went to grade school in Arroyo Grande‚ California. He moved to Victor‚ Montana and graduated from Victor High School. He did some work in a cabinet shop‚ then started work at the Smoke Jumper Center in Missoula‚ Montana. He cleaned fire equipment hoses‚ tents‚ etc. That’s when he decided to become a firefighter.
In the summer of 1997‚ David started at the Sula Montana Ranger District. He was meticulous; his firefighting gear had to be perfectly appointed. He was the same with his snowboard‚ drum set‚ mountain bike‚ even his skateboard (would do tricks over and over until it was perfect). When he was in California‚ he was on a friend’s surfboard learning how to ride the waves.
David was also a gifted artist. He had a big heart‚ kind and caring to all. He had love for his family his friends‚ and a great love for the outdoors.
David was first in the pack test 2 years in a row. Before fire season they all train for the pack test. He was fastest in the forest‚ even was pictured in the local newspaper.
David was called a STRAIGHT EDGE type of guy. They called themselves that because they never did drugs or alcohol or smoke. He and his friends took pride in that. As his mother‚ I was proud of that‚ too.
David had many certificates of completions of many firefighting-related classes. He loved his job and was always eager to learn. He was going to be a leader‚ but was taken much too soon.
He was fighting a fire on September 3‚ 2001. The fire‚ at Lost Trail Ski area‚ (an area he loved to snowboard many times) and a snag fell. A snag is a standing dead tree. It fell as David was moving down the fire line‚ the snag hit him and he went down the steep edge. One is never ready to hear the news that your son was taken so fast.
David will be missed by his mom‚ sister‚ girlfriend‚ dad‚ and all his friends and former firefighters. David is our angel and will always be with each and every one of us in our hearts. We all love you David and miss you more than words can say. David Ray Rendek‚ Jr.