Greater Houston Fire Battalion is a organization of individuals with a common interest in the Fire Department and Fire/EMS activities throughout the Houston area. Membership is $20 paid annually. The group meets every other month, usually on a Saturday. Fire photos and descriptions are emailed out on a regular basis; and the end of year Houston FD Multiple-Alarm Report is also sent to current members.
Jerald Duane Ricks
Jerald Duane Ricks passed away on December 12, 2013 at the age of 59. Jerald was one of those rare people--born (Feb. 16, 1954) and raised in Houston. He had several jobs during his too-short life, but the jobs he enjoyed most allowed him to indulge in his love of the fire service. That was his main passion since his teens.
Jerald rose to the rank of Assistant Fire Chief in the Houston Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD). A unique department, its members are trained by HFD members hands-on in the firehouses, then permitted to ride on the trucks and fight fires side-by-side with their career comrades. He was also one of the first graduates of HFD's Citizen Fire Academy.
Jerald not only had been a member since inception in the IFBA-affiliated fire buff club Greater Houston Fire Battalion, he had been its president for the past decade. He was also a Trustee for many years for the Houston Fire Museum, Inc. Outside the fire service, Jerald served for many years on the Houston Marathon's medical committee. He hated it as his deteriorating health meant he couldn't be involved in these passions anymore.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth Ricks; sister, Glenda Ricks; stepmother, Kathy Ricks; half-brother, Kelley Ricks; stepbrother James Watson and his family; and stepsister Charleen Watson and her family; as well as numerous other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy Ricks; and his father, Duane Ricks.
A visitation was held on Saturday, December 21, at the Schmidt Funeral Home Chapel near his home in Katy, west of Houston. Many relatives and friends spent hours sharing fond memories of Jerald, but the highlight was the performance of bagpipe music by Jerald's long-time friend, HFD District Chief Richard Cole. "Jerald didn't want a funeral, but I think he deserved one any way," said Cole. "I'm going to play a few tunes in his memory."