MARBLETON – Becoming a firefighter is a “noble calling,” Sublette County Unified Fire (SCUF) Chief Shad Cooper told graduates at the 2022 Recruit Academy commencement ceremony in Marbleton on July 18.
Cooper called the event “one of the highlights of the year,” marking the transition from recruit to firefighter with family and friends in attendance.
“This is our opportunity to recognize the hard work that our new members have put in to get to this point and to celebrate their accomplishments,” he added.
Deputy Fire Chief Bob Kladianos thanked the recruits for their efforts and time they put into completing the Recruit Academy requirements during his opening statement. He also gave a shoutout to family members for supporting each recruit as they studied and trained.
SCUF training officer Cass Urbigkit tuned into the ceremony remotely from a wildland fire in Utah and congratulated the graduating class.
“I’m super proud of you,” he said. “The work, the energy, the sacrifice and time you guys have put into the Recruit Academy is awe inspiring.”
Following the speeches, Cooper presented each graduate with certificates. Family members and friends came forward to pin new badges onto the recruits’ uniforms. Cooper then swore in each individual as a full-fledged firefighter.
Eight people completed the requirements to join SCUF as firefighters on Monday. Lainey Lawless and Ty Roberts will join Pinedale Battalion No. 1. Melissa Lish and Travis Sass were sworn into Big Piney-Marbleton Battalion No. 2.
New firefighters in Boulder Battalion No. 4 are Faris Brown and Nathan Mastin. John Thompson will join Daniel Battalion No. 5 and Mike Cooney will join Kendall Valley Battalion No. 6.
The Recruit Academy also included two cadets, individuals who completed the requirements but are not 18 years old. The 2022 cadets are Leo Labrador and Sean Ruckman, both in Battalion No. 1.
Cadets who completed most of the requirements were Eli Crumley, Liam Cunningham, Jordan Peterson and Stanley Souza.
Cooper acknowledged the dedication involved in finishing the grueling Recruit Academy – involving months of classroom learning and on-the-ground training at the Marbleton facility.
“There’s a tremendous amount of commitment necessary to successfully complete the academy – untold amount of hours spent reading the textbooks, communicating with each other, attending the numerous trainings scheduled at the fire academy (in Marbleton),” he said.
Cooper praised the recruits’ willingness to sacrifice time away from work, family, friends and hobbies to “drop everything you’re doing and respond to an emergency” as volunteers serving their community.
“Take pride in the knowledge that you’re there when somebody needs you,” he added.
Kladianos concluded the ceremony with a resounding, “Welcome to the club.”
SCUF is accepting applications for the Recruit Academy Class of 2023. Forms are available online and interested applicants can call 307-367-4550.