RESCUE TEAM REMEMBERS DON FEHD
OURAY MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM REMEMBERS DON FEHD
OURAY, Colo. -- On Monday, September 12, 2022, Ouray Mountain Rescue Team member Don Fehd was tragically killed in a vehicle rollover on Camp Bird Road three miles from the town of Ouray. The Mountain Rescue Team, Ouray County Emergency Medical Services, Ouray Volunteer Fire Department, Ouray Sheriff's Office, Ouray Police Department, and Colorado State Patrol all responded to the accident.
The team was devastated to learn that Don was the driver of the vehicle, and that the other two passengers, Ofelia Figueroa-Perez, 60, of Flagstaff, Arizona, and her niece, 28-year-old Diana Robles, from Sonora, Mexico, had died in the accident.
The team remembers Don for his selfless commitment, his great sense of humor, and his strong presence in the Ouray community. Since joining the team in spring of 2019, he participated in countless trainings and responded to dozens of rescues. Outside of normal duty, Don took on many volunteer roles behind the scenes that kept the team running smoothly. He worked hard to have a good handle on any skill he might be asked to perform during a rescue mission. At the same time, he was conservative about sticking his neck out too far when his teammates were counting on him. His humility and respect always stood out during tense moments in the midst of a rescue.
Don was a sweet man, gentle, curious and always courteous and friendly. Don had a magnetism that attracted everyone. As a longtime driver for Colorado West Jeep Tours, he made both young and old feel like they had known him for years. His work as a tour driver dovetailed with his great capacity as a conversationalist. He was easy to talk to, and always impressed with what others had to say.
As a team member, Don was a dedicated volunteer who was quick to take on any role in which he could be helpful. When a longtime former Ouray Mountain Rescue team member, Jackie Hatten, passed away, Don immediately offered to take the family on a tour of the high country to show them the breathtaking scenery. No one asked him to do this, but he felt that Jackie’s family should see where she played and volunteered as a team member. This was Don in a nutshell, always the first to volunteer to help where he could.
On one mission that Don was involved in, the rescue team was requested to assist a neighboring county SAR team in the middle of a serious rescue when another page went out for a hiker with a broken leg. The injured hiker was miles up a steep trail with darkness falling. A crew was assembled to head up the trail with a wheeled litter for a few hours of blue-collar work to bring the hiker out. Radio communications were spotty at the end of a long valley so the team needed a radio relay. Don was the best driver in the group but pretty green on the VHF radio. After receiving a quick crash course on line-of-sight radio work, he took off solo to a strategic location where he could hear the team up on the hill then pass important messages back to base. Reluctantly he grabbed the mic and did a wonderful job of relaying essential information to make the mission happen safely.
That's how Don operated his entire tenure on the team. He was always humble and he could be counted upon by his teammates in whatever role needed to be done.
Bringing Don back to Ouray after the accident was a high honor and a great burden that all team members carry in our hearts. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and the families of the other victims from the accident. Don will be seriously missed by a grateful team.