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CAFF.com
02-19-2010, 03:11
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Riverside County Fire Capt. Dave Parks was the guiding hand for his department.

A 30-year veteran, he worked from the fire lines to the command center. He led by example, but made sure to show others how to find the way on their own, friends and colleagues said.

Now that he's gone, many of the firefighters still feel his presence.

Capt. Parks, 54, died Feb. 5 after a battle with lung cancer.

He was laid to rest Friday during a Fire Department decorated funeral at March Air Reserve Base.

After the casket arrived on Engine 7 from Sun City, firefighters read the "last alarm" and rang a final bell. Capt. Parks' fire helmet, from Moreno Valley Station 2, was presented to his daughter Taylor, said Riverside County Fire Chief John Hawkins.

"It's never easy and we expected Dave to be going, but it was very difficult considering everything he represented," Hawkins said.

"At his funeral I asked how many people were benefited by David Parks. More than two-thirds of the 300 people there raised their hands."

The death was reported to the state as work-related, Hawkins said.

"It's not clear what caused the cancer, whether it was a Haz-mat situation or a structure fire, who knows," Hawkins said.

"He had a lot of exposures and tried to go through life. It's not something firefighters think about. We don't dwell or worry about that. Everyone would be a basket case otherwise."

A die-hard Anaheim Angels fan and a gentle giant, Capt. Parks stretched his more than 30-year career throughout Riverside County working an array of fields for the Riverside County Fire Department and a stint at the city of Riverside Fire Department.

He started his career as a volunteer on an ambulance company at Moreno Valley Station 2, then known as the Sunnymead Station, in 1972 when he was 18.

During his career, Capt. Parks worked at Lake Elsinore Station 10, Moreno Valley Kennedy Park Station 65, La Sierra Lake Hills Station 82, in fire prevention and ended his career at the Perris Command Center.

Sue O'Donnell worked with Capt. Parks at Perris Command, under his leadership in directing incidents and dispatchers who take more than 100,000 calls per year.

"He always wanted you to know your job regardless of if he was there or not, and make decisions and feel like you could stand on your own," O'Donnell said.

On duty, Capt. Parks would fill any position as needed, Hawkins said. At La Sierra station, he and the fire crew painted the stations themselves.

"When work needed to be done, he was always there and would always answer his phone," Hawkins said.

Turn2
10-29-2010, 17:59
Dave we had fun together, I will miss you