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Flag Ceremony Held to Honor LA County Lifeguard Derek Traeger

September 6 held at the Venice Lifeguard station

By Dolores Quintana

On September 6, the Los Angeles County Fire Department held a flag ceremony to honor the life and career of Ocean Lifeguard Derek Traeger of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Division who served the County of Los Angeles for six years. 

The ceremony was held at the Venice Lifeguard station, A23, where Traeger served much his time with the department. Traeger had last been assigned to the north portion of Santa Monica beach. 

After a presentation from uniformed officers of the LA Fire Department Honor Guard and a short prayer, Lifeguard Traeger was eulogized by the ranking member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He said, praising Traeger’s service, “it is in these small images taken far and wide in rapid bursts of the camera’s shutter, wherever it happened to land, that we see Derek Traeger. When I say that Derek lived with abandon, I say that he is the man his family raised and, in so far as it is possible for a man to abandon self for focus on others.” 

Six uniformed members of the LA County Fire Department lowered the station’s flag and reverently folded it while the speaker detailed the meaning of the flag folding ceremony. After a salute to the flag, it was presented to Traeger’s parents. After the moving presentation, a bagpipe player from the Los Angeles County Pipes and Drums played a rendition of Amazing Grace while three fire float boats sprayed ocean water into the air in tribute. Finally, a Lifeguard rescue vehicle sounded the vehicle siren one last time in tribute.

Derek Traeger died on August 14 in a motorcycle collision. In a statement, the Los Angeles Country Fire Department said, “OL Traeger understood better than most what it means to wear the red trunks. His passion for life, art, the ocean, and his lifeguard family was evident in every moment he lived.”

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