Standing Proud

A family affair. new firefighter Mariana Green receives her badge from husband Ty Green as children Gabby and Lincoln Green look on.

Largest graduating class in history pinned for Sublette County Unified Fire

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,

Gay said.

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

fully certified.

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

and commitment.”

“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.


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