Blackfeet firefighter who died in NC returns home to Montana

Blackfeet firefighter who died in NC returns home to Montana

05 Deceember 2016

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USA — GREAT FALLS -The Blackfeet Tribe released the following information on Sunday:

A procession for Blackfeet Firefighter Darryl “Poor Boy” Vielle will take place today in Missoula, MT. The procession will begin at 4:30 p.m. from the Missoula Smoke Jumper base and proceed north along Hwy. 93 to Foster Funeral Home in St. Ignatius, MT.

Due to winter weather warnings, the procession, once reaching St. Ignatius, will be closed to the public to minimize traffic through the Continental Divide.

At St. Ignatius, he will be watched by an honor guard overnight and be returned home to Browning on Monday at approximately 12:00 p.m. The procession will travel through U.S. Hwy 93 & 2. Upon arrival in Browning, the process will go down Main Street where his family, fellow firefighters, crew members and community will welcome him at the Stick Arbor where the wake will take place.

Darryl “Poor Boy” Elden Vielle, was a Blackfeet Nation firefighter serving on a Camp Crew at the Maple Spring Fire in North Carolina when he was found deceased in his room on the morning of November 30, 2016 at the Phillips Hotel in Robbinsville, NC. When found, local emergency personnel administered CPR; however, it was initially determined he may have passed hours earlier prior to discovery.

Darryl was a seasoned wildland firefighter with 28 years of experience. He began his career in 1984 working as a firefighter for the Blackfeet Nation’s wildland fire crews. Over the years, he gained experience working in nearly every capacity of the fire management program, frequently serving as a squad boss, engine foreman, crew boss, and incident commander for small incidents. He was serving as a squad boss for the eight-member camp crew when he was found unresponsive November 30th.

Known to be an outgoing and kindhearted leader, Darryl enjoyed his work, loved his community and was also fond of drawing. His mother and four sons survive him who will be in attendance during the procession that will take him home to Browning, MT. Out of respect for the family, they are requesting privacy as they grief his loss.

(FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2) A Montana man fighting fires in North Carolina has died.

Darryl Elden Vielle, 51 years old, was part of an eight-member Blackfeet firefighting crew that is working to fight the Maple Springs wildfire, which has burned more than 7,700 acres in western North Carolina.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs reports Vielle was found dead in his hotel room in Robbinsville, North Carolina, on Wednesday morning.

CPR was administered by emergency personnel; however, they determined that Vielle may have passed away several hours earlier prior to the discovery.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death.

The crew has been supporting firefighters in North Carolina since November 10th.

The eight-person camp crew Vielle worked with is responsible for dispensing, distributing, and inventorying supplies for firefighters.

They also loaded trucks and maintained buildings to keep the Incident Command Post clean and organized.

Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes says the Blackfeet Nation is mourning Vielle’s death.

In a press release, Barnes said, “Throughout our history, members have stepped up in service to family, Tribe and country. Darryl is an example of that call to service and this unfortunate turn of events does not lessen his answering the call.”

A Blackfeet Honor Guard will accompany the return of the firefighter’s body to Browning on Monday.

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