SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. – The memorial service for a South Haven native who died fighting wildfires out west will be Saturday.
Richard Wheeler was a wildland firefighter who was fighting a fire in Washington state, when he and two other firefighters were killed on August 19. Officials said the three died when their truck crashed down a 40-foot embankment as they tried to escape the fast-growing wildfire and flames consumed their vehicle. All three lived in north-central Washington.
Wheeler, a career firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, was from South Haven. Wheeler was a 2013 graduate of Grand Valley State University and his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been firefighters in South Haven.
Visitation for Wheeler will be from 10:00am until Noon at Filbrandt Family Funeral Home in South Haven. A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm at First Congregational Church in South Haven. The family is asking for donations instead of flowers for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation or the Richard Wheeler 1st Responder Scholarship at Grand Valley State University.