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Fallen Brothers» Charles Krenek

Line of Duty Death      Our condolences to the Krenek family and the Texas Forest Service. Aviation Specialist Charles Krenek, 48, a 26 year veteran firefighter with the Texas Forest Service died Thursday March 27, 2003. Charles died when the Bell 407 helicopter he was flying in crashed in the Angelina National Forest in San Augustine County. The helicopter was flying just 20 feet off the ground or treetops searching for debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia when it experienced mechanical failure and crashed. The pilot, J. Buzz Mier, an employee of Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters of Arizona, was also killed in the crash. Another Texas Forest Ranger and two other spotters from Kennedy Space Center were injured in the crash and transported to Memorial Medical Center of East Texas in Lufkin.

     Charles was hired in 1977 by the Texas Forest Service and within six years he was promoted to Forest Technician III, the highest technician level in the agency. He was decorated with the Director's Award for Field Technician in 1984, the Director's Award for Team Effort in 1989, and was presented with the Best Maintained Unit Award in 1994. Charles' job as an Aviation Specialist entailed maintaining and operating air tanker retardant planes, helibases and support equipment in mitigation and fire suppression efforts. He also worked with the agency's fire prevention teams and assisted the Texas Forest Service Incident Team. Charles had been operating as a Helicopter Manager during the Space Shuttle Columbia Recovery Effort since February 1, 2003.

     Our brother Charles leaves behind his wife, Charlotte, and his son, Mark. A wake for Charles was held Saturday March 29, 2003 6-8PM at Carroway- Claybar Funeral Home in Lufkin. A funeral was held for Charles on Sunday March 30, 2003 2PM at First Assembly of God Family Church in Lufkin followed by internment at Garden of Memories Memorial Park with honorary pallbearers from the Texas Forest Service. A memorial fund has been established and donations can be made to:

Charles Krenek Memorial Fund
c/o First Assembly of God Family Church
P.O. Box 151038
Lufkin, TX 75915
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