At the 2022 Colorado State EMS Conference, we inaugurated this means of remembering EMS colleagues, from any service/discipline, that have passed away in the previous 12 months. Their names and photographs are in a visual loop presented in the large ballroom during lunch hours on Friday and Saturday of the Conference.

Register 2023 EMS Memorials here.

2022 Memorials

Chester "Chet" Riley
Chief, Nucla-Naturita Volunteer Fire Department
EOW March 20, 2021 on-scene

Chester “Chet” Riley, a longtime resident of Naturita, CO. first moved to Western Colorado while a very young boy with his parents and siblings. Chester attended and graduated from Nucla High School in 1984, after which he graduated from Wyoming Technical College as a certified mechanic. Chester eventually found his way back to Naturita and joined the Nucla Naturita Volunteer Fire Department on Christmas Day in 1986, as a volunteer fireman. He served for 10 years, before leaving the area after seeking employment out of town in 1996. Chester returned in 2005, resuming his duties as a volunteer fireman, as well as serving as a volunteer on the Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse. Chester had a passion for fighting wildland fire, spending countless hours battling many of Colorado’s wildfires over the years. In 2014, he was appointed Chief of the Fire Department.

Chester loved all manner of outdoor activities; hiking, hunting, fishing, panning for gold, or simply walking in the wilderness. He was most happy with the sky overhead, instead of a roof. The only thing Chester loved more, was his family. His wife Shantel, daughters Melissa, Kindra, Melinda and son Morgan. And of course, being grandpa, brother and uncle. Chester was proceeded in death by his mother, Alma. His father John, brothers John Jr, Cameron and sister Elizabeth, survive and all miss him daily.

Chester was a kind, giving person. He made friends with everyone he met. His infectious smile and laugh left a lasting impression on everyone who met him.

On 20/Mar/2021, Chester responded to a motor vehicle accident to assist with rescue and EMS operations. While on scene, Chief Chester Riley collapsed, unresponsive. Efforts to revive the chief were not successful, resulting in a fatal cardiac arrest. Chief Chester Riley’s End of Watch came while he was in service to others, helping his fellow mankind. He died doing what his soul directed him to do; helping others.

Chester left his mark on the world, teaching all of us to be better human beings, by the example he set for us all to follow. He will live on forever in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Dr. Kevin Weber
Medical Director for 20 EMS agencies, Southern & Southeast RETACs
EOW February 27, 2022

Kevin Weber, a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, was an emergency physician since 1994. Most of his career was at the emergency department of St. Mary Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo.

He served as medical director for the Southern and Southeast Colorado RETACs. He also served at the medical director many prehospital EMS agencies, including:

  • AMR- Pueblo / Canon City,
  • Pueblo City FD,
  • Pueblo West Fire,
  • Boone Volunteer Fire Department,
  • Pueblo Rural FD,
  • Fowler Volunteer Fire Department,
  • Beulah Volunteer Fire Department,
  • Rye FD,
  • Trinidad Ambulance District,
  • Spanish Peaks Ambulance Service,
  • Custer County EMS,
  • Crowley County Ambulance Services,
  • MedTrans,
  • La Junta,
  • Las Animas,
  • Ordway,
  • Manzanola,
  • Rocky Ford,
  • Kiowa County and
  • Pueblo County 911 dispatch.
Captain Leo Lloyd
Durango Fire Protection District, La Plata County SAR, San Juan County SAR
EOW August 4, 2022

Not only was Leo Lloyd III active in multiple responder roles dating back to the early 1980s, he was also instrumental in helping develop multiple new programs and organizations, while passionately training and mentoring hundreds of others throughout his career.
After growing up in Montana, Leo moved to Durango to attend Fort Lewis College in 1980. His grandfather, Leo Lloyd I, was a general surgeon at the old Mercy Hospital and the family had frequently visited Durango, which later drew Leo to the town and the San Juan Mountains. He joined the newly-formed La Plata County Search and Rescue as an FLC student and actively recruited other students. His passion for conducting and training technical rope rescue only accelerated from that point on. In 1985, Leo started working for the hospital-based Mercy Ambulance as an EMT, then attended the Swedish Paramedic Program in Englewood, Colorado in 1988. While at Mercy, Leo started the Mountain Response Team (MRT) which creatively embedded paramedics into backcountry rescue missions, predating the helicopter EMS programs of today. He also flew with Mercy Air Care as a fixed-wing flight medic, igniting his passion for flight medicine.

In 1992, San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington started the first helicopter flight program in the region and Leo jumped at the chance to be part of the new SJRMC Air Care. In 1995, while working as a flight medic, Leo completed nursing school, further advancing his critical care skills. In 2000, he transitioned to the new Animas Surgical Center on Main Avenue, again a developing new upstart organization, where he gained experience in post-surgical care.

In 2002, three fire departments and the Mercy Paramedics consolidated into the Durango Fire and Rescue Authority, which later became the Durango Fire Protection District. Leo was once again recruited to help develop a new program and was the original C Shift EMS Captain. He quickly established solid firefighting skills which became the new standard for all front-line staff. During his time at D.F.P.D., Leo additionally served as EMS Training Captain and led the Tech Rescue Team. In 2018, Leo saw another need and offered to help train and mentor new EMTs and paramedics with the new Interfacility Program where he served as IFT EMS Captain.
While full-time at D.F.P.D., Leo was also an instructor with Rigging for Rescue for two decades, teaching tech rescue for numerous organizations around the U.S. and internationally. In 2017, he accepted an offer to help train Nepali high-altitude Sherpas at the Khumbu Climbing Center and spend a cold winter month in Phortse, Nepal helping them gain valuable technical skills. He also recently completed two climbing ranger rotations on Denali, in Alaska, performing high-altitude rescues on both tours. In his spare time… Leo worked for Silverton EMS and was active on San Juan County’s SAR through that program. Days before he died, Leo did his last SAR mission, climbing all three Trinity Peaks as part of a search.

On behalf of the Durango Fire Protection District, we offer our condolences to all who knew Leo, were trained by him, or impacted in their careers. His focus on education and training will leave a legacy in the fire, EMS, S&R and rope rescue worlds.

Larry Reeves
Crowley County Ambulance Service & Emergency Manager - retired
EOW August 8, 2022

Larry Reeves started his 23 years of EMS in 1989 as an EMT Basic for the Crowley County Volunteer Ambulance Service. A father of four, Chad, Jessica, Jennifer and Brandon:  Larry balanced a construction company, family and education classes to complete his EMT Paramedic in 1997 and become Nationally Registered. At that time, he started as the director of the Crowley County Ambulance Service. Then in 1999, the county hired him full-time as the director of the Crowley County Department of Emergency Management. In this capacity, he oversaw the emergency operations within the county, including ambulance operations, fire rescue response and operations, emergency planning and public warning systems.

Larry also served on the EMS Advisory Committee for Otero Junior College and was their instructional Coordinator for EMS classes. He taught EMT Basic and Intermediate courses and was a BLS, ACLS and PALS, instructor and course coordinator, through Colorado Advanced Life Support. He was the Medical Unit Leader for the Eastern Colorado Incident Management Team. Larry was a member of the Area Trauma Advisory Committee for the lower Arkansas Valley and was instrumental in the formation of the Southeast Colorado Regional EMS and Trauma Advisory Council (SECRETAC) in 1996. He fulfilled several officer positions on it including treasure, vice chair and chairman. He was a member of the State Emergency Medical and Trauma Service Advisory Committee (SEMTAC) as a representative of volunteer EMS professionals and served as the chairman of the Crowley County E911 Authority Board. In 2012, he retired from the Ordway Volunteer Fire Department with 20 years of service.

Crowley County has benefited from Larry’s dedication and perseverance. When he started in 1989 Crowley County had one ambulance. Today the county runs three ambulances with cutting edge technology and advance protocols. He has been a pillar behind the scenes enabling communities to advance communication, warning systems, education and training. He has worked representing several positions and fields including, but limited to, paramedic, volunteer fireman, volunteer search and rescue, Emergency Manager, Homeland Security and EMS coordinator.

Captain Scott Gallagher
Durango Fire Protection District
EOW August 7, 2022
Scott Gallagher passed away on August 7th, 2022. Scott was a husband to Karen, a father to Gwen, a son, a brother, a mentor, co-worker and friend to many. He was an active outdoorsman and an avid biker. The details below will focus on his work history as it relates to the Fire and EMS service.

Scott’s fire career started in the summer of 1992 when he worked as a wildland firefighter in Eugene, Oregon. After working a summer at wildland, he found a passion for firefighting. He became a volunteer firefighter with the Nederland Fire Protection District from October of 1996 until March 1999.

In March of 1999, Scott was hired as a part-time employee with Durango Fire Department. In May of 1999, he went full-time. This organization transitioned into Durango Fire Rescue Authority and then the present-day Durango Fire Protection District.

Scott advanced his EMT certification by obtaining his EMT-Intermediate in January of 2006, allowing him to provide more advanced EMS care and work on the ambulance.

In May of 2008, Scott was promoted to the position of Engineer. In that position, he was responsible for driving and pumping the fire apparatus. He began his love of training others, as well as furthering his knowledge of firefighting, engineering, mechanics and hazardous materials.

In November of 2014, Scott was promoted to the position of Fire Training Captain. Scott was a master in several areas of firefighting, including vehicle extrication, hazardous materials, aerial operations, hydraulics, compressed air foam (CAFS) and general firefighting. Scott’s duties included teaching all new members of the organization who started as a volunteer, as well as continuing education for all staff members.

Scott loved his work and was incredibly skilled at it. He approached every day with a smile and enthusiastically worked on every training event. His absence leaves a large hole in our organization, not just for his teaching abilities, but the legacy he leaves behind in all the firefighters who are better at their jobs because of him.

Assistant Chief Greg Gatzke
Penrose Fire Protection District
EOW March 31, 2022

Greg Gatzke was the Assistant Fire Chief for the Penrose fire department and had been with the department since 2011. He was an EMT and was one of the main medical responders in the ambulance. Greg served on the Fremont County EMS Council for many years and was a member of EMSAC. Greg’s full-time job was as a mechanic for the emergency services department at Fort Carson. Greg was a very good mechanic and often did the maintenance for the vehicles at the Penrose Fire Department. Greg was fatally injured while working on a fire engine at work on March 31st, 2021. Greg married Kember on June 20th, 2020. They were just shy of celebrating their 1st anniversary.  During his off-time Greg enjoyed spending time with his beautiful bride, hiking, riding his ATV and trying new outdoor adventures. Greg is missed by his family, EMS family, friends and community. Thank you for your service, Greg.

Rest easy, colleagues. We will take it from here.