Jerry Stricker always has one critical piece of advice for new recruits who come through his fire department: while you may think it’s a fun adrenaline rush to fight fires, there’s nothing fun about witnessing someone else’s worst day.
When he sees the bright-eyed, eager recruits come through the academy, he sees a lot of himself when he began his fire career in 1980.
“They’re young and wanting to do all that fun stuff just like me when I was that age; fun was fighting fires,” he said. “With age and experience comes a different perspective.”
His fire service career began in 1980 as a volunteer in Nebraska. In 1982, he moved to Vail, Colorado, and in 1992, he and his family settled down in Golden, Colorado, where today he serves as the deputy chief fire marshal. He applies his experience and lessons learned to every aspect of his work, serving his community and looking for ways to improve function and reduce risk.
“I’ve never done it for the money. I’ve always loved going to work every day,” he said.
This dedication is why he was awarded the 2018 Inaugural Fire Marshal of the Year award.
Stricker first joined the Fire Marshal’s Association of Colorado in 1993 and in 2000, he became the president of the organization, serving for three terms. He volunteered on the legislative committee, and during that time, he participated in legislation that impacted public schools and health care facilities.
“There were some things at the state level that we didn’t like and so I wanted to be involved in the solution to that,” he said.
Stricker hopes to serve with the Fire Marshal’s Association until he retires in the next three to five years, at which point he says he might like to set his sights on a political career.
“I am considering a run at the state house when I retire. While there will undoubtedly be fire service issues in that work, I think I’m ready to do something new and fresh.”
Making a positive impact on his community has been the highlight of his career.
“Through community risk reduction, those in the fire service can have a greater impact on the community as a whole instead of waiting on something bad to happen,” he said. “Two percent or less of the work we do is fight fires; that’s because of the uptick in the prevention side of things.”
Stricker earned his bachelor’s degree in fire science from CSU in 2012, following a 25-year break in his education.
“My degree has helped me to view my responsibilities from a broader perspective of how my decisions can affect our fire department and community, as well,” he said. “I feel I make decisions that are better balanced while considering fire firefighter safety, the public’s expectation of safety and community economic vitality.”
Leave a Reply