Colorado Mountain College Leadville presented 18 firefighters with Fire Academy I certificates on Dec. 7.
Since August, cadets have been taking two college-level courses totaling 12 credit hours: Firefighter I and Hazardous Materials Operations. The academy curriculum included classes at CMC Leadville and hands-on training at the college’s live burn facility in Eagle County.
This fall’s cohort of academy cadets come from Frisco, Dillon, Eagle, Gypsum, Edwards, Leadville, Salida, Arvada and Vail. Certification prepares graduates for firefighting careers throughout Colorado.
Fire Academy instructors are both active and retired firefighters, representing nine fire departments throughout the region – including Eagle River, Summit, Vail, Greater Eagle, Glenwood Springs, Salida, Colorado River, Leadville, and Red, White and Blue.
Addressing the new firefighters at the commencement were Lieutenant Zak Miller of Vail Fire and CMC’s fire science program coordinator; Eagle River Fire Protection District firefighter and instructor Brandon Drury; Leadville Fire Rescue Chief Dan Dailey; and Eagle River Fire Rescue Chief Karl Bauer.
In his address, Chief Bauer asked for a moment of silence and then spoke of the death of Summit Fire & EMS firefighter Ken Jones, who died fighting a fire at Copper Mountain early that same morning. Bauer told the new firefighters that serving others was central to firefighter Jones’ life, and he congratulated the graduates for their choice to serve others as well.
As part of the ceremony, Chief Dailey awarded Instructor of the Year to Ryan Gregor. Both Cadet of the Year and Academic Excellence awards went to graduate Zachary Cherry, and Jonathan Burnham received the Certificate of Perseverance. In addition, in his role as CMC fire science coordinator, Zak Miller awarded honors for lead instructors: Brandon Drury (2019) and Greg Isaacson (2018, 2017 and 2016).
Colorado Mountain College offers the Fire Academy I certificate program at its campuses in Leadville, Rifle and Vail Valley at Edwards.