[Moving Tribute From the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department to a Fallen Hero]
Many of you are aware that Larry Myrold was involved in a terrible accident last Saturday in the Smith Valley. We are deeply saddened to report that he succumbed to his injuries last night (Tuesday, March 2) at approximately 10:30PM.
Here are a few words from Fire Chief Frank Frievalt about the passing of Captain Larry Myrold:
As most of you know by now, Larry Myrold, a beloved friend, father, husband, grandfather, journeyman plumber, and Fire Captain par excellence, suffered a terminal head injury this past Saturday during a vehicle accident; he passed away yesterday evening. The distance between my ability to write, and what Larry deserves to be written is immeasurable.
Though my welling eyes can hardly see the keyboard, my mind’s eye can clearly see Larry… It is dark, a little snowy, I’m sorting out some tactical befuddlement on a call I have never seen before (oddly a lot of that in Mammoth), supposedly as someone who should have a clear answer – and there he is with me at the back of the Command Car. Soot-stained red helmet, tilted slightly under the weight of experience, draping loose chinstrap; his weathered but kind face and purposeful eyes, all resting securely above that hooded sweatshirt under his turnouts, you have seen it, the one so tattered the drawstring was held to the hood with precious few strands of fabric – more like the relationship a shower curtain has with the rod. In that even tone, he would ask simply through wafting snowflakes, “What do you want to do Chief?” Those were the words, but he imparted intent; organize your thoughts, make a good decision, and I’ll make it happen no matter what – which he always did, sometimes with great imagination.
I am staring at his “file”; there are dates (hired 5/2/1990), and promotions (Engineer 3/1/1995, Captain 1/27/2005). He started serving as an Acting Duty Chief a few years back – so frequently this year that I saw we’d given him a white helmet and a second locker at Station 1 while I was away in the EOC – he certainly earned it. I have closed the file because it is as hopelessly inadequate as my words to try to capture all that Larry was for us and this community.
So, “What do you want to do Chief?” I want to thank you Larry, on behalf of a grateful fire family, for your faithfulness, quiet mentoring, answering the call in all conditions, tough love, and for being the Platonic form of dedication to public service. I want to thank your family, for sharing you with us, apologize for the missed dinners, birthdays, and the obnoxious pager tones which intruded on everything. I want to personally thank you Larry for making me a better Chief through quiet but clear expectations.
Let our tears fall, let our hearts heave – it must be so, for a while. As always, articulating what I want to do has come up short, and as always, I know Larry will understand how to fill in my gaps, and yours, by visiting our thoughts and doing whatever it takes to help us get through this – thank you Larry.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Larry at Fire Station 1 in the coming months so that, hopefully, conditions and weather will accommodate a crowd that will surely exceed what can be presently supported. The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to may share their condolences through a donation to the Mammoth Lakes Firefighters Foundation (note: Myrold Family; P.O. Box 5, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546).
I look forward to seeing you all at Larry’s Celebration – take care, Chief Frievalt