Fifteen volunteer firefighter
recruits stood tall and proud along
the wall of the Sublette Unified Fire training
facility in Marbleton on Monday, July 15.
They wore smart new dress uniforms with the
American flag on one shoulder and the Sublette
County Unified Fire logo on the other.
Family members and friends, plus dozens
of SCUF firefighters and battalion chiefs,
filled the room to support the Recruit Academy
Class of 2019.
In the course of an hour, each recruit received
badges and took an oath as certified
firefighters, ready and able to respond to
emergencies in their communities.
The 16 graduates – one was unable to
make the ceremony – represent the largest
class of recruits in Sublette County Unified
Fire history. For the first time, the new firefighters
came from all six battalions in Sublette
County, said Wil Gay, battalion chief and
county training officer, during the ceremony.
The recruits included six women and three
married couples – another first for the department,
Two students from Pinedale High School,
Sydney Ruckman and Dominik Klingler,
The SCUF Recruit Academy Class of 2019 includes pictured, from left, Bruce Cooper, Tim Loveday, Tim Vrska, Tess Vrska, Chris Lacinak, Stephanie Housley, Lilly
Head, cadet Sydney Ruckman, Sarah Carter, Rzjon Carter, Nicholas Mattson, Broc Serres, Steven Sanders, Matt Scanlon, Mariana Green and Robert Johnson. Not
pictured but also members of the graduating class are Kerri Ruch and cadet Dominik Klingler.
A family affair. new firefighter Mariana
Green receives her badge from husband
Ty Green as children Gabby and Lincoln
Green look on.
Battalion Chief and County Training Officer Wil Gay helps EJ Head, center, pin
the badge on her older sister, firefighter Lilly Head.
New firefighter Matt Scanlon receives his pin from his wife, Mavzuna Scanlon.
Robert Galbreath photos
After receiving her badge, new firefighter
Stephanie Housley pins the
badge on her husband Chris Lacinak.
completed the coursework and were recognized
as cadets at the ceremony on Monday.
Due to their age, however, recruits in the cadet
program cannot participate in live-fire training,
and have to wait until they are 18 to get
All of the graduates “dedicated themselves
to the noble calling of being firefighters,” Fire
Chief Shad Cooper said on Monday.
“You are now a member of the Sublette
County Unified Fire family,” he said. “This is
an honor that is earned. These graduates have
proven their worth through onerous training
and countless hours of work.”
The Recruit Academy started back in January,
and recruits spent the next six months
giving up their weekends to get down and
dirty with real-life emergency simulations in
Marbleton. During the week, the recruits hit
the books and online coursework to prepare
for unit tests administered by Gay. Like many
volunteer firefighters, the recruits had to fit
all of these training hours into busy schedules
filled with family and job obligations.
The graduates at the ceremony exhibited
three traits that make strong firefighters: dedication,
sacrifice and commitment, Cooper
said. In addition to dedicating time and effort
to the training process, Cooper spoke about
the sacrifice each firefighter has to make.
“All firefighters have to put their personal
lives aside to respond when there is an emergency
and (are needed) to help someone out,”
he said. “This allows us to protect our community
Commitment includes taking pride in the
department and putting in hours as unpaid
volunteers to keep the organization running.
“Commitment doesn’t end with the Recruit
Academy,” Cooper said.
One by one, the graduates stepped forward
to receive their certificates. Then siblings,
spouses, fathers and mothers came forward to
pin the official Sublette County Unified Firefighter
badge on the graduates.
“The badge pinning ceremony is steeped
in tradition,” Cooper told the graduates. “This
marks the beginning of your career.”
The graduates took an oath administered by
Cooper. At the close of the swearing in, the
graduates became official volunteer firefighters.
Cooper thanked the newest members of
his department for their “dedication, sacrifice
“Sublette County Unified Fire is more
capable because you chose to volunteer,” he
said. Cooper ended the ceremony with a quote
by former Fire Department New York Chief
Edward F. Croker in the early 20th century:
“I have no ambition in this world but one,
and that is to be a firefighter. The position
may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly
one. But we who know the work which the
firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble
The SCUF Class of 2019 includes the following:
Rzjon Carter, Sarah Carter, Mariana
Green, Lilly Head, Robert Johnson, Dominik
Klingler (cadet), Tim Loveday, Sydney Ruckman
(cadet), Steven Sanders and Matt Scanlon
of the Pinedale Battalion; Broc Serres of
the Big Piney/Marbleton Battalion; Bruce
Cooper, Stephanie Housley and Chris Lacinak
of the Bondurant Battalion; Kerri Ruch
of the Boulder Battalion; Nicholas Mattson of
the Daniel Battalion; and Tim Vrska and Tess
Vrska of the Kendall Valley Battalion.