Carson City, Clark County men honored at firefighters’ memorial
October 14, 2012
Carson City’s Richard Chrzanowski and Clark County’s Jerry Harper were honored Saturday at ceremonies placing their names on the wall of the Nevada Firefighters Memorial.Chrzanowski, a Carson City Fire Department battalion chief, died Dec. 31, 2009, of brain cancer. Harper, a Clark County Fire Department fire engineer, died of a heart attack Sept. 8, 2011.East Fork Fire Protection District Chief Tod Carlini praised both men, calling Harper a team player. He indicated Chrzanowski, whom he knew personally, drew respect from his peers and everyone else.“His integrity was unquestionable,” said Carlini of the Carson City man known to friends and families simply as “Ski.” Carlini, secretary of the Nevada Firefighters Memorial board as well as chief of the Douglas County Fire District, cited the late Battalion Chief’s 35 years in the fire service. He also said “Ski” loved classic cars and riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.Harper not only was a team player, Carlini said, but also was skilled in fire service duties and took initiative.Carlini reminded the 250 present for the ceremony that firefighters face danger not just from fires, but also from exposure to materials that are toxic and carcinogenic.Ruth Hanusa, Memorial chaplain from Reno, said those gathered not only were honoring the pair, but also celebrating their lives, grieving and comforting each other in a circle of life.“I think the circle functions that way,” she said.Steve Frady of Reno, chairman of the Memorial board, said such ceremonies remind people of the deadly nature of fire fighting and provide recognition for folks who die in or out of the line of duty.The ceremony at the Memorial in Mills Park was during National Fire Prevention Week and drew many from the Carson City Fire Department, firefighters from other jurisdictions, and friends or family of those honored.Among them was June Chrzanowski, widow of the Carson City Battalion Chief.Also among them was Carson City Assistant Chief Tom Tarulli, who led the Pledge of Allegiance that began the ceremony. Beforehand, Tarulli called Chrzanowski both safety conscious and creative.“We always talk about how we have to have a shining, stellar work ethic,” Tarulli said. “Well, he did.”Saying Ski’s safety consciousness and attention to detail were unsurpassed, Tarulli added, “He was creative. If we couldn’t buy it, he’d find it, get it donated or make it.”Captain Mike Santos said Ski was known for wanting everything in order, clean and ship shape. “He was a stickler about that,” he said.Chrzanowski began his firefighting career in Arizona 35 years previous to his death, serving at more than one department in that state and then moving on to be deputy chief in Ukiah, Calif.He came to Carson City in 1993. He was diagnosed with brain cancer the day before Thanksgiving in 2009, died on New Year’s Eve that year.