Richard Simpson Bolt, Jr. (1930-1979)

Richard Simpson Bolt, Jr., standing and smiling. Image from Fire Service Line of Duty Deaths Facebook page,

About Richard Simpson Bolt, Jr. (1930-1979)


Richard Simpson Bolt, Jr., was born on December 9, 1930. He began his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) career as a temporary bulldozer operator at Santee National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina on June 1, 1964. Bolt remained a dedicated Service employee, and during his time stationed at Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, he became a career employee, meaning he had served as a full-time state employee for 16 years. Subsequently, Bolt served in a highly commendable manner at two stations in Florida: National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center and Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. His final station was Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia where he served as a biological technician from July 12, 1974, until his death.

Cause of Death

On February 15, 1979, there was a wildfire in Forest Compartment No. 8 of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which is a location also known as the Pocket. While Bolt attempted to plow out the fire, he suffered burns on 70% of his body. In the aftermath, Bolt was taken to the Brook Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas for treatment, and he survived for 13 days before succumbing to his injuries on February 28, 1979. Bolt’s brave actions saved many people who were in the local picnic area, and the U.S. Department of the Interior posthumously awarded him its Valor Award on October 10, 1979. Furthermore, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge retired his radio number, Unit 3, and named the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center after him.


Key Fields

Born 1930, Died 1979, Age 48, Male, Biological Technician, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia, Temporary Bulldozer Operator, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center, Florida, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Fire, Burns, Valor Award,Eponym.