Vail Daily letter: Spell for fire board
Ryan Summerlin May 1, 2014
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to let you know that I am running for the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District board.
I have lived in Eagle with my family for over 30 years. Currently, I am a retired firefighter making a living writing and consulting in the areas of safety, security and haz-mat. Twenty years ago while working as a firefighter in another town, I was an active volunteer and instructor for GEFPD, responding to fires, vehicles accidents and medical assists while helping train fellow firefighters. Today, I occasionally teach a course for new recruits. I feel blessed to be a part of such a great organization, if even in a small way.
As a combination fire department, part paid, part volunteer, all professional, Greater Eagle Fire is facing an important challenge in the coming years. As Eagle has grown, so has the expectations for its fire department. Gone are the days of cowboys and engines. Today’s GEFPD firefighters are fully trained and certified, whether paid or volunteer, and as such are held to the highest standards of capability. Their equipment must meet tough national requirements for response and safety as well. Together, they represent what is best about our community and continuing this call to excellence is the challenge.
In turn, we as a community are responsible for keeping our fire department strong enough to meet this challenge. With growth comes the need to provide additional facilities, equipment and personnel sufficient for a safe and effective response to emergencies regardless of time and distance. To accomplish this there must be clear and open communications regarding the needs and subsequent expectations of both fire personnel and the citizens and business owners of Eagle. Fiscal responsibility, value expenditure, planned expansion, inter-agency cooperation and community involvement — all define the future of Greater Eagle Fire and the Eagle Fire District.
What sets us apart from other towns and districts is that our fire department is truly part of the community. A combination department is part paid and part volunteer and those volunteers are us. Whether an auxiliary supporter attending a barbecue, a brigade-type member organizing a fundraiser, or someone focused on a potential career in the fire service, GEFPD always has room for one more. This is our tradition and this is why I am running for fire board — to keep this tradition of community involvement robust, regardless of demand, perception or personal agendas. Volunteerism and professionalism are not mutually exclusive. We can support a core of dedicated full-time firefighters who in turn support a vast legion of volunteers regardless of involvement level. Far exceeding the abilities of each, this “combination” can continue to direct an exceptional fire department directly linked to the community we call home.
Please do your part and vote on May 6. Questions about my candidacy can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.