Memorial service held for fallen firefighter David Ruhl

program cover
The cover for the program.

A memorial service was held Sunday, August 9 in South Dakota at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center for David Ruhl, an engine captain with the Black Hills National Forest in Rapid City who was killed while fighting a wildfire in northern California on July 30, 2015.

Before the ceremony a procession of dozens of emergency vehicles escorted his remains and his family and friends to the service, which lasted a little more than an hour and was attended by hundreds of people, many of them firefighters in uniform.

honor guard
An Honor Guard was on the stage before the service began.

David Ruhl memorial service David Ruhl memorial service

David Ruhl memorial service
A friend and former co-worker of Mr. Ruhl with the Pierre Rural Fire Department gave a moving remembrance of his time with David.

Bagpipes, a traditional part of firefighter funerals and memorial services, were an important part of the ceremony. Below is one example of their work, playing Amazing Grace.

David Ruhl memorial service
A former co-worker of Captain Ruhl read the Firefighter’s Prayer.

One of the many moving portions of the ceremony was when we heard the last call for Captain Ruhl. There was a simulated recording of Great Plains Dispatch calling him on the radio — but there was no response.

last bell David Ruhl memorial service
The Last Bell was rung for Captain Ruhl.

Several mementoes were presented to the family, including several flags, a statue from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and a helmet. David Ruhl memorial service

David Ruhl memorial service
Mr. Ruhl was formerly with the Coast Guard. A member of the Coast Guard was there to  give his family a Coast Guard Flag.
David Ruhl memorial service
Mary Wagner, the Associate Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, presents a USFS flag to Mr. Ruhl’s family.

David Ruhl memorial service

Mr. Ruhl’s funeral will be held Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 520 Cathedral Drive in Rapid City (map). The public is welcome. It will be a traditional Catholic service.

Scott Jacobson, the Public Affairs Officer of the Black Hills National Forest, recorded some video of the procession. He said he could possibly share it on a DVD as early as August 12.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

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