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Dave VanBuskirk Memorial

DaveOn the evening of July 22nd, 2013, we lost a hero. My good friend and co-worker Dave VanBuskirk fell during a rescue operation at Mt. Charleston, but not before saving a man’s life. To say his death was a tragedy and loss to his family, friends, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the community would be an understatement. It is difficult to put into words what a remarkable human being he was, but for anyone that never had the pleasure of knowing him I have tried to do just that.

As a search and rescue officer Dave saved countless people’s lives, and did so with a remarkable amount of compassion. He worked hard to gain experience and knowledge far beyond what was required, which is an example of one of his many outstanding qualities. Dave always put intense effort into anything he did in life. He would never be satisfied with just being acceptable. He worked hard to become certified as a paramedic and spent hours every week training, working out to stay in shape for the demands of his duty and was always learning to make himself even more of an asset for the unit. Always calm under pressure, Dave almost seemed unaffected by stressful situations. Because of this, there is no one I have ever seen do the job as well as Dave. As pilots we trusted him with our lives without hesitation.

One of Dave’s passions was for Jiu-Jitsu, and he trained constantly with many of us at the Sergio Penha Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Just as he did with many other parts of his life, he put 110% into learning the art and was promoted to black belt by Sergio after just 8 years. To give you an idea of how humble a person he was, the day he was promoted he didn’t say a word to anyone. After being with him at work for a few hours I started getting text messages from the guys at the gym telling me about it. When I went in his office I said “Dude! You got your black belt and you didn’t say anything?” He just shrugged his shoulders and said “Ahhhhhh, you know.” He would never say or do anything that would give an impression of arrogance, even though it wasn’t the case. As a training partner Dave was tenacious on the mat. He was strong, had excellent cardio and was extremely technical. He always gave it his all and never quit regardless of being tired or caught in a bad position. But the most remarkable thing about him in the gym was how he strived to make everyone around him better. He was completely selfless and had no ego. Because of this he shared everything he knew with a goal of making the rest of us better than he was.

Dave was a loving husband, son, brother and uncle. He was everything you could ask for in a friend and more. It always amazed me how positive he was, he saw the good and hidden potential in everyone. He devoted himself to his family. He helped those in need. He put his needs aside for others. If while reading this you wonder how such a noble person could exist, maybe now you are beginning to understand why I have said he was a remarkable human being. He was truly one of a kind. If most of us could live our lives even a fraction of the way he lived his, the world would be a much better place. We miss you brother…….and we will never forget you.

Dave Callen


Sergio Penha’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy

3904 Schiff Dr.,
Las Vegas, NV 89103
General: (702) 217-0870
Sales: (702) 219-0186

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