Permanent memorial placed for fallen firefighter killed near Lake Tahoe ski resort
With fires blazing all over California, billowing smoke throughout the state, the memory of fallen firefighter Michael “Mikey” Hallenbeck remains fresh on the minds of the people closest to him.
About 25 people made their way to Hallenbeck’s memorial site late last week near Sierra-at-Tahoe, including Mikey’s parents Kirby and Toni, where the 21-year-old lost his life, Aug. 8, 2015, when a dead tree fell on him while fighting a fire near Echo Summit.
The group replaced a temporary cross with a new, more permanent memorial about a half mile southeast of Sierra’s Grandview chairlift.
The new solid wood cross weighs about 60 pounds, stands about 8 feet tall and is 3 feet wide. About 200 pounds of concrete was used to secure the cross into the ground.
“It took a lot of work getting this cross,” said Carl Williams, a fellow firefighter who attended the ceremony and helped complete the project. “What was there was basically two stakes with a rubber band. It was really sad. And with all the fires burning in California, now was a good time to remember him and make a better memorial.”
Hallenbeck was a firefighter with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service.
Last October, U.S. 50 near Echo Summit was renamed “Firefighter Michael ‘Mikey’ Hallenbeck Memorial Highway” during a ceremony that was attended by state Sen. Ted Gaines.