Robert A. Hales
Scappoose Rural Fire Protection District – Oregon
Date of Death: August 17‚ 2008 Age: 40
Robert was born September 4‚ 1967‚ in Oregon‚ to Robert and Carol Hales. He graduated from St. Helens High School and joined the Army in 1985. He began his training as a large equipment/diesel mechanic while in the Army and completed his Diesel Certification at Portland Community College.
Robert married his wife‚ Mary‚ in 1991‚ and they moved to Scappoose‚ Oregon‚ to be near Robert’s extended family. In 1999‚ they bought a house just across the creek from the fire station and moved there with their three daughters‚ Heather (17)‚ Katie (16)‚ and Sandra (14).
In everything he did‚ Robert always put his family first. His interest in being a firefighter stemmed from the struggle his family went through with the premature birth of their second daughter‚ Katie. Her illness prompted him to learn all he could about her care and‚ because of this‚ he became an EMT-B after joining the fire department.
Robert worked as a mechanic for Hertz Equipment for 12 years. He loved the family atmosphere of the fire station and would often stop in at the station in town on his way home after work to chat with other fire personnel. He used his mechanic skills over the years to help in the maintenance of fire apparatus. He was well respected for his ability to diagnose and repair equipment.
Robert loved his community‚ and he volunteered in many different areas. His grandfather had helped to found a farm museum in Columbia County‚ and Robert helped each year in growing and harvesting the wheat or oats that they ran through a 1926 Case thresher each summer during the county fair. He also helped out with maintenance at the fairgrounds‚ and he and his wife were the campground superintendents for the county fair. Everywhere he went‚ people recognized him from some time he had helped out someone they knew. Being a volunteer firefighter was just a natural step in his commitment to his community. His dedication was admired and‚ in 2001‚ he was awarded Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.
Robert could always be counted on to respond to the fire/rescue call coming over the radio. On August 17‚ 2008‚ he responded to a fire call early in the morning and fought lightning strike fires for twelve hours. Shortly after returning home‚ he drove his daughter to work. Barely a mile from home‚ he suffered from a heart event that caused him to black out and crash. His daughter escaped from the accident unhurt. Robert died at the scene‚ surrounded by Scappoose Fire personnel.