Cortez to add full-time firefighters

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Cortez to add full-time firefighters

$555K grant brings money into fire district
Grant Allen cleans a chainsaw Thursday at the Cortez Fire Station. The department received a grant that will allow them to hire six full-time firefighters.
Firehouse is ‘my history’

Justin Lindsay grew up in the firehouse on Ash Street. As much as anywhere else, this is his home.
Walking through the halls of the firehouse is like walking through a living scrapbook for Lindsay. The son of Kent Lindsay, Cortez Protection District’s last volunteer fire chief, Justin can remember washing the engines with the volunteer crew, hanging out in the station when he wasn’t in school and riding in the big red trucks during community parades.
The fire station is his childhood.
It also may be his future.
A full-time EMT at Southwest Memorial Hospital and part-time firefighter with the local fire protection district, Lindsay is contemplating testing for a full-time paid position with the district, the first time such an opportunity has been available in Cortez.
Lindsay believes the opportunity to add full-time firefighters in Cortez is a huge benefit to the community.
“I believe it is the next step in increasing what we offer,” he said. “We took the step from completely volunteer to a combination status with volunteers and reservists and now we will be able to put on full-time people and have a continuation of leadership and information. We will be able to be more productive, that is how I see it.”
For Lindsay, the opportunity to go full-time with the department means his journey from “fire kid” to full-fledged firefighter will come full circle.
“I started in the department as a volunteer in 2007, but I basically grew up on the fire department,” he said. “I’ve been around it my whole life and, you know, it gets in your blood. You know in a very short time if this is something you want to do.”
After graduating from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2005, Lindsay joined the National Guard, where he served until 2011. Upon leaving the military, he looked for opportunities that would allow him to use his training and operate again in a high-paced environment.
His brother and father encouraged him to consider the fire department, where he was already volunteering.
“It’s just been nonstop ever since,” he said. “I got my first responder certification, then my EMT and my fire certification. Now I’m even teaching classes here and there.”
Lindsay said there is a great responsibility associated with being the one who interacts with individuals on their worst days, and it is a feeling that pushes him to be better for the sake of his community.
“You just have the desire and drive to continue doing better so you can help your neighbor,” he said. “In a community like this, that’s really what it is, you are helping your friends, people you know. I’ve helped several of my neighbors multiple times and it is a satisfying feeling that you are able to be there and help them out. The department gives a lot to the community, but we get it back by knowing we’ve helped.”
Regardless of whether or not Lindsay moves up in the local department as a full-time member of the crew, the Cortez Fire Protection District will always be part of his life.
“It’s who I am, I guess,” he said. “It’s my history.”

Cortez to add full-time firefighters

Grant Allen cleans a chainsaw Thursday at the Cortez Fire Station. The department received a grant that will allow them to hire six full-time firefighters.
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