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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 38
Year of Death: 1983

Louis T. Osteen

Louis Osteen‚ 38 years old‚ died December 28 following a sudden heart attack. His family‚ friends and co-workers will remember him as a devoted family man‚ a tireless worker and a sportsman with a strong competitive spirit.

His family summed up Louis’ personality as ‘a man with a ‘can do’ attitude who was involved in many activities‚ especially those which helped better the community.’

Born March 11‚ 1945 in El Dorado‚ Texas‚ Osteen moved with his family to Del Rio in 1950. Graduating from Del Rio High School in 1963‚ Louis enlisted in the military‚ like many of his fellow classmates. He joined the Navy and was stationed aboard the USS Monticello off the coast of Vietnam. Returning to Del Rio in 1968‚ Osteen joined the Laughlin Air Force Base Fire Department as a firefighter.

‘Louis loved being a fireman.’

Osteen’s love for his work showed up in the many awards and commendations he received while at Laughlin Air Force Base (LAFB). He was named fireman of the month in July‚ 1982 and fireman of the quarter for the period July-September‚ 1982. Osteen was named firefighter of the Year-1982 for the 47th Civil Engineering Squadron.

His competitive spirit and leadership were evident when he was captain of the firefighting team‚ which participated in the Texas Military Fire Fighters Competition. The LAFB crew won the state championship in the pumper races twice in a row under Osteen’s leadership.

Receiving a Sustained Superior Performance Award in September‚ 1982‚ Osteen’s superiors were glowing their recommendations. Robert A. Grenan‚ Assistant Fire Chief wrote that‚ ‘Mr. Osteen has performed all his assigned duties in an outstanding manner exceeding requirements in his job performance appraisalƒHis job knowledge‚ ability and his demonstrated capabilities have been very instrumental in obtaining and maintaining a high standard of proficiency in the operational branch of the fire department.

His personality and leadership are outstanding in working with people. His reputation is well established and he is admired and respected for his ability and willingness to assist/serve in any manner possible. His quality work‚ productive efforts and superior performance were but a few attributes for his selection as Firefighter of the Month and Supervisor of the Quarter. A prime example of his capabilities was evident during the 2nd Annual Texas Military Firefighter’s Competition. His demonstrated willingness to win and prove that he had the best firefighting crew in the state of Texas earned him outstanding recognition by his peers and supervisors.’

Base Fire Chief Ruben E. Whatley echoed the recommendations‚ writing ‘Mr. Osteen’s (GS-7 Firefighter Leader/Station Chief) knowledge and experience in fire protection is outstanding and he is a great asset to the fire Protection Branch.’

Lt. Col. Harvey Manekofsty‚ Base Civil Engineer also recommended Osteen for the award. ‘He is a dedicated conscientious supervisor who demonstrates outstanding capabilities in all aspects of job performance. He has a high degree of professionalism both on the job and towards the Wing mission. He is most capable and willing to undertake any task with a ‘can do’ attitude in all endeavors.’

On October 23‚ 1983 Osteen received a ‘Certificate of Service’ for 20 years of faithful federal service. In March‚ 1983 he received a cash award for a suggestion which saved the base man hours and fuel.

Osteen was also deeply involved in community activities. He was a volunteer for the Del Rio Fire Department for 10 years and was named an Honorary Life Member of the department.

He was an instructor for the Red Cross and certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. He was attending Laredo Jr. College‚ studying Fire Science.

A deeply devoted family man‚ Osteen spent much of his time with his sons. He volunteered as an assistant Scout Master Troop 279 & Troop 255. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow-Scout Troop Member 279. He also volunteered to work for the Annual 4-H show.

His competitive spirit passed down to his three sons‚ Roger‚ Ricky and T.H. They were all avid sports enthusiasts; the boys participated in sports while in school. They were also rodeo participants‚ which their father greatly encouraged and supported. He was also a member of the Ram All-Sports Booster Club.

He was an outdoorsman who loved to haunt and fish‚ and he was in the process of building an adobe house on his ranch when he passed away.

On a more personal note‚ this reporter remembers Louis as a neighbor and exploring companions. As youngsters‚ Louis was always the one who organized the games we played. Intensely competitive‚ he always played to win‚ whether at monopoly‚ marbles or baseball.

His idea of a good time was to go ‘exploring.’ With an insatiable curiosity‚ he wanted to know the name of each plant‚ rock‚ what kind of animals made certain tracks‚ where did the water go when it went underground and so on. His curiosity‚ enthusiasm and energetic ‘desire to know‚’ never abated even into adulthood. As one friend remarked‚ ‘Louis lived life to its fullest.’

A Mason‚ member of Helios Lodge no. 49‚ Louis will be missed by all who loved him in the community‚ friends as well as family. He was a positive influence in our town and his many accomplishments will be long remembered by all who knew him.

He is survived by his wife Ramona‚ Roger‚ Rickey and T.H. Del Rio. 4 grandchildren Louis T. Mathew‚ Brian and Megan Osteen

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  1. You were a hard working great man and a good Father from what Nana tells me. She loves you so much. It is an honor to be named after you. Wish I had gotten to meet you. Thank you for your service Grandpa.
    -Louis T. Osteen

    – Louis Osteen