More than 250 family, friends, and fire service personnel gathered Thursday at Rolling Hills Church to celebrate the life of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Captain Dave Pearson. Another 200 people viewed a livestream of the event that included full fire service honors.
Captain Pearson unexpectedly passed away on March 1, 2020, at the age of 49. His original Celebration of Life had to be postponed, but the District and Pearson family were pleased to be able to reschedule the service and reflect on the incredible impact Dave had on the lives of those he knew, served, and provided care for.
Dave most recently served as captain of Tualatin Station 34, where he led TVF&R’s Hazardous Materials Team, oversaw station operations, managed personnel, and responded to emergency incidents.
Prior to being hired as a firefighter paramedic by TVF&R in September 1999, he served for eight months with the Eugene Fire Department. During his more than 20-year career in the fire service, he established himself as a gifted paramedic, talented firefighter, dedicated member of the Hazmat Team, and someone others looked to for direction during challenging incidents.
“Dave was so very good with the public and in his interactions with any patient,” recalled TVF&R Fire Chief Deric Weiss during an interview. “Whether it was a young child or elderly person, he had an amazing bedside manner and always demonstrated care. He had an ability to be calm in any situation. He was a truly skilled paramedic and would make patients feel safe and that everything would be OK.”
Dave was also a problem solver, who searched out ways “we can do better,” Weiss said. Whether it was taking the initiative to enhance safety on fire scenes by finding ways to limit exposure to cancer-causing chemicals or exploring decontamination practices, Dave was willing to put in the work.
Dave earned promotions to apparatus operator in June 2003, lieutenant in January 2006, and captain in July 2016.
“Dave led with kindness and treated people with respect,” Weiss said. “He made you a better person by knowing him. He was such a good teacher and had so much to give.”
Dave was a company officer his crew could depend on and trust to make tough decisions.
“Over the years as I had the chance to work with Dave, I saw him really come into his own as a leader,” said Apparatus Operator Mike Rose. “He was very dedicated and devoted to his crew. He cared about them.”
Mentoring and training future leaders within the agency was also important to Dave, noted Lt. Jeff Miller, who was in the same recruit academy as Pearson. Miller said Dave always exuded confidence on incidents. He generously shared his expertise with newer members of the Hazmat Team to help them become accomplished hazmat technicians.
“He loved his job, and he was so good at it,” said Brooke Pearson, Dave’s wife. “He loved being a mentor and helping people to be the best they can be. I think what made him so great is his faith and how much he loved the Lord. He lived his faith in a way people noticed.”
To see more stories from his life, please watch the following Celebration of Life video.