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Veerkamp retirement ceremony: Colleagues share their memories

FAREWELL CHIEF — Captain Mike Wilson, left,  presents the flag to Brian Veerkamp Wednesday at the retirement ceremony at station 85 in El Dorado Hills.  Standing next to Brian is his wife Lori. Village Life photo by Pat Dollins
FAREWELL CHIEF — Captain Mike Wilson, left, presents the flag to Brian Veerkamp Wednesday at the retirement ceremony at station 85 in El Dorado Hills. Standing next to Brian is his wife Lori. Village Life photo by Pat Dollins

FAREWELL CHIEF — Captain Mike Wilson, left, presents the flag to Brian Veerkamp Wednesday at the retirement ceremony at Station 85 in El Dorado Hills. Standing next to Brian is his wife Lori. Village Life photo by Pat Dollins

“I was working in Cameron Park and we had a potential merger with El Dorado Hills Fire coming up that wasn’t going well. I remember Brian and Larry (former chief Fry) walking into the fire house – I’ll never forget their confident, competent stature. Brian asked me how things were going and for some reason I was honest and said, ‘not well.’ He told me that things would work themselves out, and I believed him. That’s the way he was.” — Jim O’Camb, Deputy Chief

“His commitment to this community was outstanding and inspirational. You ask a chief to provide direction and leadership, but what he does goes way beyond that. I can’t keep up with this guy. He does so much. He let me take one of the engines to my daughter’s school for show and tell. That was pretty cool.” — Lt. Todd Thalhamer, volunteer

Brian Veerkamp and his wife Lori watch as the flag is lowered Wednesday at Station 85 in El Dorado Hills. Village Life photo by Pat Dollins

“When I made chief in 1993 I picked him because I could see he had the same values I did about serving the community and I wanted someone young and energetic who wanted to work. Brian was a great deputy chief. We built three fire stations together and replaced all the equipment. My favorite Brian story is the Santa Run. He always seemed to get lost. Maybe we can get that thing done on time now.” — Larry Fry, former chief

“I’ll tell you one thing, this guy is competitive. He’s only recently finally mellowed to the point where you can golf with him. Just ask his daughter Tiffany.” — John Knight, District 1 Supervisor

“This guy did so much. He was instrumental in the JPA (Joint Powers Authority for ambulance service), the TRA and now consolidation. He’s like GI Joe, the most serious, honest and ethical you’ll find.” — Tom Keating, Rescue Fire Chief

GOING OUT IN STYLE — €“Retired El Dorado Hills Fire Chief Brian Veerkamp is escorted out of the station by firefighter Kasey Owens, 34, of Placerville. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene

“Maybe now he’ll have time to take a few lessons from (wife) Lori and become a scratch golfer.” — Tony Mansour. Town Center magnate

“We were friends at Sac. State. He lived at home him Placerville, and would hang out at my apartment near the campus some times. That was back when we wanted to become lawyers. We studied hard and drank some beer together …  maybe one or two.” — Tom Port, college friend

BRIAN AND LORI Veerkamp have some fun by their "limo." The classic ride was a gift to Brian presented at his retirement ceremony Wednesday. Village Life photo by Mike Roberts.

“I’m thrilled for what the future holds for this family, and ready for the next chapter of our lives. It’s great to see everyone here. This guy has always been about serving this community. That’s why he left law school; he thought it was more fulfilling helping others.” — Lori Veerkamp, wife

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Posted by on Jan 20 2011.
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