Retired fire chief Ralph E. Green died in an accident at the El Dorado Sale Barn

El Dorado lost a long-time community member in a horse-riding accident Monday.

Former El Dorado police officer and retired fire chief Ralph E. Green died in an accident at the El Dorado Sale Barn.

“We lost one of the good guys yesterday,” said Commissioner Chase Locke on Tuesday. “Ralph meant a great deal to the City of El Dorado and to our family.”

After Green retired from the El Dorado Fire Department, 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.

“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.

He was a volunteer with 4-H for five years.

Green’s love of animals , especially horses, was evident to others, as stated by Kathy Daily, who described Green as “A man not afraid to show his compassion for any animal.”

“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 also is credited for initially having the vision to see a second fire station open in El Dorado 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.

Sgt. Phil Wickwire, with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, worked with Green from 1977 to 1980 in the El Dorado Department of Public Safety when green was a lieutenant.

“Not only was he a supervisor, but a mentor and college proessor as well,” Wickwire said.

Green had been an adjunct professor at Butler County Community College teaching highway safety transportation and fire science classes.

“He was just a genuine, unique person to be in the public service industry,” Wickwire said. “He was unique in almost every way, how he presented himself and supervised people and taught classes. He would always add in some sort of illustration to drive home his point and get his point across to his students.”

He also said Green had a sense of humor.

“He was able to share that and accept others,” Wickwire said. “That’s what made him a unique and great person to be around. Folks liked to be around Ralph because he was fun, but when it was time to be intense and serious he was dead on.”

Wickwire recalled Green had always talked about when he retired he wanted to be a cowboy.

“Ralph is just a great guy and Nancy is a great lady,” Wickwire said.

“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.

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.