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Local Firefighter Awarded Walter L. Stonehocker Excellence in Training Award

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Long time Grand Fire Assistant Chief Ron Thurston was awarded the prestigious Walter L. Stonehocker Excellence in Training award at the Colorado Fire Training Officer’s December 8th membership meeting.

The Walter L. Stonehocker Excellence in Training Award recognizes individuals for extraordinary accomplishments in fire service training. The Walter L. Stonehocker Memorial Award is established to recognize the efforts of local fire department training officers nominated by their agencies.  Walter L. Stonehocker was a founding member of the West Adams County Fire Protection District and long-time advocate for the Colorado Volunteer Firefighter Pension Fund. The nominees for the award should display a deep commitment to furthering the cause of the fire service through professional development and advocate for firefighter operational effectiveness and safety.

Assistant Chief Ron Thurston has spent over forty years in emergency services, including Tabernash Fire in the 1970s, Grand County EMS, and now over thirty-five years with Grand Fire Protection District in Granby.  Ron was born and raised in Tabernash, and except for his military service, has called Grand County home. Ron became a volunteer at Grand Fire in 1988 and was promoted to his first officer position in 1992 as the Rescue Captain and has served in leadership roles and been involved in developing firefighters and department management since. In his thirty fifth year, he’s still proud to serve his community as a volunteer and serve as an Assistant Chief - Operations and Training for the department.

As a Volunteer fire officer, running a business and raising a family, Chief Thurston has been involved with new and seasoned firefighters as they learn and refine skills related to structure fire, vehicle extrication and rescue, hazmat operations and wildland firefighting. Chief Thurston has also been involved with Grand Fire’s Resident Firefighter Program since its inception and has been critical in the jumpstarting the careers and development of over a hundred quality firefighters that have moved on to serve across Colorado and the nation. Many alumni of the program are now fire officers in various agencies across the state and still display many of the values they learned under Chief Thurston’s mentorship.

“It’s been an honor to be involved with so many folks so early in their career” states Assistant Chief Thurston. “Working with them to set them up for success, not just in the fire service, but with life skills has been really rewarding.”

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