Former Stanislaus County Fire Warden Russ Richards, who served Stanislaus County in numerous ways through the fire service, was given a fitting tribute from the firefighting community in the wake of his passing.
Richards was 77 when he passed away on June 26.
Firefighters from around the county and beyond made a procession by Richards’ Turlock home on Friday to pay their respects and honor the many contributions made to the community.
Richards has held many positions in fire service, including fire investigation for the Stanislaus County Fire Warden’s Office, Fire Warden for Stanislaus County, the first Chief of Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District after its creation, and an Office of Emergency Services Coordinator.
“Chief Richards built relationships with trust and respect to all the fire agencies in Stanislaus County,” said Michael Wilkinson, retired Fire Warden. “He led by example and made everyone feel like they were important, they mattered and they were one of his best friends. He was truthful and always treated everyone with respect and dignity even when you needed to adjust and correct your behavior or actions.
“Chief Richards was a role model as a firefighter and a man,” said Wilkinson.
Ceres Professional Firefighters Local 3636 issued a statement on its Facebook page, saying: “He led and mentored many of the firefighters in and around Stanislaus County and will be greatly missed by his family and friends in our local fire departments.”
Richards leaves behind his widow, Joan Richards of Turlock.
Richards was raised in Roberts Ferry and lived in Waterford until moving to Turlock.
Ceres Professional Firefighters Local 3636 has established a Russ Richards scholarship fund designed to assist students attending a regional fire academy. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund may make checks out to Ceres Firefighters Local 3636, P.O. Box 310, Ceres CA 95307.