Former El Dorado police officer and fireman Ralph E. Green died Monday due to a horse-riding accident at the El Dorado Sale Barn.
Sheriff Kelly Herzet said they received the call at about 2:35 p.m. Monday and Sheriff deputies, along with EMS and El Dorado Fire, were dispatched to the Sale Barn on Highway 54 to the report of a male falling off of a horse.
Herzet said Green, 73, was found lying in a fenced area in the southeast corner of the property with a "very severe head injury." After EMS arrived and did their assessment, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Apparently a gentleman who lives on Southeast Conner Road was watching him ride the horse," Herzet said.
The man said it appeared the horse got spooked, started running northeast and jumped a fence. Green fell back to the ground, striking his head.
"He said he yelled several times, but could not get a response," Herzet said of the witness, who went to check on Green and had his wife call 911.
Herzet said they don't know what spooked the horse.
"We lost one of the good guys yesterday," said Commissioner Chase Locke. "Ralph meant a great deal to the City of El Dorado and to our family."
After Green retired, having served as fire chief for El Dorado, he went to work for the Locke family at the sale barn.
Locke said Green was there almost from day one when the sale barn opened.
"I remember it was always him and the horses," Locke said. "He was just the nicest guy ever. Ralph was always willing to do whatever."
Green also helped with 4-H and "anything that had to do with horses," as well as being a good family man.
“Ralph was an amazing friend, mentor and leader to the Butler County 4-H program,” said Charlene Miller, Butler County 4-H Youth agent. “Ralph's passion was horses and he never missed an opportunity to help youth. He could be found in the middle of planning and carrying out the Spring And County Fair Horse Shows. Additionally, he constantly had ideas, visions and dreams for the 4-H horse project; always looking for opportunities for the youth to learn and grow.”
In November he developed and led a community service project at the El Dorado Lake. He also created a trail guide to help youth who wanted to learn more about trail riding. Furthermore, he has been hard at work developing a horsemanship clinic that would provide the horse project youth the information they needed to complete testing that's required for them to compete at a District 4-H horse show and the Kansas State Fair horse show. This was set to start in February.
Page 2 of 2 - “Ralph volunteered his time unselfishly in everything he did,” Miller said. “To top all this off, Ralph never met a stranger. He made countless youth's experience in the 4-H horse project a positive one. Ralph truly defined leadership and citizenship. He could always be found helping someone out, teaching and giving back to his community.
“Ralph will be greatly missed in the 4-H community,” she said.
"I know a lot of the people in the city had a lot of respect for him," Locke said. "His service to this city will always be greatly appreciated."
Green is credited for initially having the vision to see a second fire station open in El Dorado back when he was serving as chief.
He started with the city of El Dorado on Jan. 1, 1964 and retired on Aug. 31, 2000. He was fire chief from Jan. 1, 1995 until he retired.
"He served the fire community well and he will be missed," said Fire Chief Steve Moody.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and the family," Locke said.
Julie Clements can be reached at email@example.com.