Retired Tahoe Chief Duane Whitelaw dies
After a battle with cancer, retired Chief Duane Whitelaw died July 23 surrounded by loved ones, according to the North Tahoe and Meeks Bay fire protection districts.
Whitelaw left a legacy of over 42 years in public service, with 33 of those years benefiting the Tahoe region, a news release states. He served as fire chief for 21 of his 25 years with North Tahoe Fire, and 14 years as the Tahoe Basin Operational Area Coordinator for the California Office of Emergency Services.
“His contributions as a Placer County parks commissioner and most recently the general manager and CEO of the North Tahoe Public Utility District have been pivotal for development in the Tahoe region,” the release states. Whitelaw was responsible for securing millions of grant dollars supporting local projects and land purchases for parks, playgrounds, bike trails, beaches, boat ramps, and fire stations.
Whitelaw oversaw the effort to consolidate the North Tahoe and Tahoe City Fire Protection districts in 1993, creating the highest standards for training, operations, fire prevention, emergency medical services, community outreach, and administration. He secured the exclusive operating rights for ambulance transportation to provide services in Alpine Meadows and helped to accomplish fire-based ambulance services in the Tahoe Basin. His efforts of over a decade of hard work led to the design and creation of the LEED Certified Station 51 Public Safety Center, a crown jewel that will serve the community well into the future.
“In honor of Chief Whitelaw’s passing, I am directing all North Tahoe Fire facilities to immediately lower flags to half staff through sunset tonight and all uniform personnel to shroud badges until the conclusion of Chief Whitelaw’s memorial services,” North Tahoe Fire Chief Michael Schwartz said in the release. “Please join me in keeping Chief Whitelaw’s wife, children, grandchildren, and the many other lives he has touched in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn his passing.”
A celebration of life is planned for Aug. 5 at the North Tahoe Events Center. Details will be released as they become available.
Source: North Tahoe Fire Protection District
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