by Carol Stevens
GARDNER- There’s a new chief in town. Gardner Fire Board members unanimously appointed Brian Sharp as the new fire chief of the Gardner Fire Department during their special meeting July 23. Sharp was a sure fit for the community because he has a background of military and civilian medical and firefighting experience and is a certified paramedic for the Huerfano County Ambulance. Sharp is known for professionalism and level-headedness. When asked how it feels to become the new chief, Sharp said, "I am looking forward to working with the members of the fire department, the fire board, and the community to move the fire department forward. I believe that with the new plan that we will be able to provide Gardner with outstanding service. I am open for suggestions and would encourage the community to attend the board meetings and the department trainings."
County Commissioner Roger Cain read a statement during the meeting that he is stepping down as chairman but will remain on the fire board. A nomination for Steve Hodges to be chair was immediately on the floor, with the board approving unanimously.
The fire board has been working toward the goal of unity between board members and volunteer firefighters. Volunteer firefighter Diana Cupps presented an outline from a meeting the firefighters held. It outlined requests from the firefighters to the board members for more active recruitment in the community to fill department needs and more community involvement. The volunteers want to be more compliant with state regulations as well as standard operating procedures. Volunteers would also like to see every firefighter EMT certified. Chair Hodges and all board members were glad that the firefighters wanted to work for the same goals as the board and assured that the goals will be met. Volunteers agreed to cut back on pay to $10 per training to help the departmental budget for the remainder of the year.