Chief ‘Jon Jon’ gets kudos from Congress
EAGLE – When the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District’s chief of eight years received a letter from the U.S. Congress saying he was honored at a recent congressional session, he was speechless, but only for a second. Anyone who knows Chief Jon Asper knows that it takes a lot to keep him quiet. His booming voice, fierce loyalty and big heart are his trademarks. So when the letter came from Washington, Asper, whose known as “Jon Jon,” was surprised and humbled.”It’s not because of me,” says Asper of the letter of recognition. “It’s our entire department and community. Our community has been recognized by Congress.”Outside Asper’s office is a cork board with loads of letters and cards from local kids and adults – some of whom are very prominent – thanking Asper and his crew for various work.
The letters include statements like, “Thanks for always going above and beyond the call of duty,” “We were amazed by the knowledge and professionalism of the crew” and “You were there so quickly.”In words, the kids are less descriptive, but their drawings tell the story. As you enter Asper’s office, you’re greeted by a smile and a handshake. If you’re not threatening, you’ll get a little nod from the firehouse dog, even as he’s dozing. The walls are filled with certificates, medals and honors that Asper has been awarded with over the years, yet Asper doesn’t give any of that a second of conversation. Instead, he wants to talk about the community, what has changed in the department, and why he loves it here. He brags about staff members, and credits the other local organizations they work with to provide a safe environment for the people who live here.
He’s uncomfortable talking about any honor he’s received, but jumps at the chance to tell you how great his dentist is or who helped him with what this week. “That’s who Jon Jon is,” says Roxie Deane, a fire district board member and former mayor of Eagle. “I don’t think some people realize what an incredible group of men and women we have in the district, because they are all quiet heroes. I think we have an amazing crew and Jon Jon leads the way.”Asper has been with the fire district for more than 18 years in various positions. The district now employs 10 full-time firefighters and 24 volunteers. Asper loves the people he works with, the district’s board members and most of all, his community, he says. Some of the programs that the district and its employees provide to area youth are the programs closest to their hearts, including the driver’s education program for high schoolers, led by firefighter Todd Hennessy.
The program also receives a great deal of support from driver’s education teacher Tom Ehrenberg and local businessman Steve Carver, Hennessy says. For more information or a tour of the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District call 328-7244. Vail, Colorado