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RICHARD KENT TYLER

HELITACK CREW  |  Grand Junction, CO

Richard Kent Tyler, born February 23, 1961, grew up in Minnesota, where he and his four brothers were all Eagle Scouts. After completing his degree in forestry at the University of Minnesota, Rich moved to Grand Junction in 1985 and joined the Western Slope Helitack crew. In 1986, while responding to a fire, Rich lost four of his co-workers in a fatal helicopter crash. He became the crew's foreman, emphasizing safety consciousness for his crew, and in every aspect of his job. In May 1994, Rich received the Department of the Interior's National Aviation Safety Award. Rich established the first heli-rappel program in the Rocky Mountain Area and was instrumental in the development of the Interagency Helicopter Operations Guide.

Rich's love of the mountains and the outdoors brought him to Colorado. He was an avid skier. He leaves behind a wife and son. His devotion to the land is demonstrated in his son's middle name, "Foster," meaning "keeper of the forest."