Tanker pilot service Saturday | NevadaAppeal.com

Tanker pilot service Saturday

Staff reports

MINDEN — More than 1,000 people are expected Saturday at a memorial service at Douglas High School for three men killed this week in an air tanker crash in Walker, Calif.

The service, organized by the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center, will begin at 9 a.m. at Keith Roman Field at the high school. The public is invited.

“It’s probably going to be emotional,” said Tom Crawford, information officer for the center. “All three families agreed the service would be a good opportunity for everyone to participate and for the community to join us.”

Crawford said the event would begin with a tanker flyover in honor of the three men who died Monday.

The victims were pilot Steve Wass, 42, of Gardnerville; co-pilot Craig Labare, 36, of Loomis, Calif. and crew member Michael Davis, 59, of Bakersfield, Calif.

The crew flew from the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

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“Our hearts go out to the families,” Crawford said. “These men were well known to the tanker base folks and the dispatchers here. Plus, Steve Wass was a local here and went to high school here.”

Details of the service were still being worked out Thursday, but Crawford said the ceremony will open with a prayer by a Navy chaplain and include music as well as eulogies by the victims’ families.

He said the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management would send honor guards. He expected firefighters from throughout Northern Nevada and California to attend.

“We hope to have a bagpiper and a bugler, too,” Crawford said.

The service is to last about an hour. It will be followed by a memorial service for Wass at the Hutt Aviation Hangar at the Minden-Tahoe Airport at 11 a.m.

Pastor Pete Nelson of Carson Valley United Methodist Church will preside at the ceremony and people will have an opportunity to talk about Wass.

The Wass family has requested that donations be sent to City of Hope National Medical Center, 1500 E. Duarte Road., Duarte, Calif., 91010.

Separate memorial funds for the families have been established at:

— News Channel 8 Tanker 130 Memorial Fund, Wells Fargo Bank, 1542 Highway 395, Gardnerville, 89410;

— Associated Airtanker Pilots’ Memorial Fund, in care of Hawkins and Powers Aviation, Inc., who will match all donations, PO Box 391, Greybull, Wyo., 82426.

IF YOU GO

What: Memorial service for air tanker crash victims

When: 9 a.m. Saturday

Where: Keith Roman field, Douglas High School, Intersection of highways 88 and 395, Minden

Info: 782-1480

What: Steve Wass celebration of life

When: 11 a.m. Saturday

Where: Hutt Aviation Hangar, No. 1 Airport Road, Minden