Dave Nyquist
Dave Nyquist (Paul Aiken / Camera file photo)
If you go

What: Dave Nyquist memorial service

When: 10 a.m. Monday

Where: Lifebridge Christian Church, 10345 Ute Highway, Longmont

When asked what made former Lefthand Fire District Chief Dave Nyquist special, those who knew and worked with him said it was the way he treated those under his command.

"Dave cared more about his people than anyone I know," said current Lefthand Fire Chief Russell Leadingham. "That's the easiest way to sum it up."

Nyquist, who served for 22 years as the chief of the Lefthand Fire District in Boulder County, passed away Wednesday at the age of 74 after suffering a heart attack, according to officials with the Lefthand Fire District.

Nyquist became the chief of the Lefthand Fire District in 1985, a position he held until 2007. In those 22 years, Nyquist developed quite a reputation around the country for his expertise as well as his work on regional incident management teams.

"Lefthand is a small department that is a speck in the world, but when we would go out to fires nationally, people would go, 'Say hi to Chief Nyquist for me,'" said Leadingham. "He was known nationally."

Nyquist was also was a member of the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team and was a certified state fire inspector for Boulder County.

Nyquist also worked in the Fire Prevention Division of the Rocky Mountain Fire Department and was logistics section chief with the Boulder County Incident Management Team.

Leadingham said Nyquist also served as a mentor for the people in the department, including himself.

"Pretty much everybody on Lefthand learned who we are as emergency responders from him," Leadingham said. "Lefthand wouldn't be where we are today without him."

Lefthand Fire Deputy Chief Chris O'Brien said Nyquist inspired confidence in the people who worked around him no matter the situation.

"He was kind of a larger than life personality, and he had a presence on scene that just exuded confidence and knowledge" O'Brien said. "He was able to grasp situations quickly, able to make solid decisions to move forward and be effective. He cared more deeply about his people than most will ever understand."

But both Leadingham and O'Brien said Nyquist was also a great man outside the fire department.

"For the people who didn't know Dave, he had a soft side," Leadingham said. "I'll miss going to lunch with him... Miss him stopping into the station after he retired."

O'Brien said Nyquist was an avid pilot and loved spending time with the people he loved.

"Like the rest of us, he just loved to be with his family, and he was a wonderful friend," O'Brien said.

A memorial service will be held 10 a.m. Monday in Longmont at the Lifebridge Christian Church, 10345 Ute Highway.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.