Four firefighters to be honored Saturday at Mills Park ceremony

Two men who lost their lives in helicopter crashes during last summer's fire season are among four firefighters being honored Saturday in ceremonies at Mills Park.

Gov. Kenny Guinn will deliver opening remarks for the occasion that begins at 2 p.m. at the memorial on the east side of Mills Park off Saliman Road.

The addition of Phillip Conner, Lester Shadrick, Maggie Durham and Clay Farnsworth will bring the number of those known to have lost their lives in the line of duty in Nevada to 46.

Conner of Prescott, Ariz., was a seasonal firefighter with the National Park Service at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. He was assigned to this summer's Charlie Fire in Elko County.

He died as a result of injuries sustained on Aug. 3 in a helicopter crash while supporting the wildland fire with water and supplies. The helicopter crashed as it was returning to Wells for the night.

Shadrick of Lake Charles, La., died Aug. 13 when the helicopter he was flying crashed 50 miles east of Fallon. Shadrick had been making water drops for the Bureau of Land Management on the Twin Peaks Fire.

His helicopter reportedly suddenly flew into the side of a canyon after he turned the aircraft around and was headed out. Shadrick was flying on contract with BLM through ERA Aviation and was based at the Stead Airport near Reno.

Durham, a member of the Searchlight Volunteer Fire Department, died of injuries she sustained while responding to a motor vehicle accident on Jan. 23, 1987.

Durham stepped across the highway from her residence waiting for the Searchlight rescue unit to pick her up, which had been the custom. When she heard an approaching siren, she stepped back across the highway and into the path of a responding law enforcement unit.

Clay Farnsworth was a Boise, Idaho-based pilot whose company had been one of the first to contract with the Bureau of Land Management for helicopter services. Farnsworth was part of the army of wildland firefighters to respond to Nevada's destructive wildland fire season of 1994. He had been ferrying firefighters to the Elko area and was returning to Boise at the time his plane crashed 10 miles north of the Elko Airport on Aug. 16, 1994.

Traditional bagpipe hymns will be played during the services. Presentation of colors will be made by the Clark County Fire Department Honor Guard, which will serve as official honor guard for the ceremonies.

Retired Sparks Fire Chief Ron Irwin will be honored following the memorial services for distinguished service to the Nevada Fire Service during his 38 years as a firefighter. A plaque bearing his name will be added to the distinguished service section of the memorial.

Plaques bearing witness to the fallen firefighters will also be added to the memorial.


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