Veon “Duke” Nyhus, our games founder, passed away, on September 24, 2013, at his home in San Diego. He was 84 years old. Duke was born in North Dakota on May 8, 1929. After high school he joined the Navy during World War II. Following a 2 year stint, Duke attended Arizona State University where he took up archery. Duke was part of the Archery Team for 3 years at ASU and joined the San Diego Archers when he moved to San Diego in 1952.
Duke joined the San Diego Police Department on July 5, 1955. Duke rose through the ranks retiring as a Deputy Chief on August 12, 1983. Among his assignments, in 1978, Duke was the Commanding Officer for the Police Departments response to the PSA Flight 182 plane crash in San Diego.
In 1967, with help from a few like-minded colleagues, Duke founded the California Police Olympics and spent his life nurturing and guiding this concept into today’s United States Police and Fire Championships and World Police and Fire Games. During the last fifty plus years, his efforts have positively touched the lives of hundreds of thousands peace officers and firefighters worldwide. In this era, he actively stewarded these great events through both challenging and prosperous times; all the while, he has never let us forget that these Games are by and for peace officers and firefighters. Let us not forget him or his message.