Dedication and Service
Authors Dean Rotbart and Hank O’Brien offer a captivating glimpse into the real-life heroism, selfless sacrifices, and unwavering camaraderie that have flourished over the past five decades within the volunteer ranks of Genesee Fire Rescue, nestled in the picturesque foothills west of Denver, Colorado.
This book unfolds like an engrossing television series or motion picture, yet it depicts authentic experiences that are certain to inspire readers.
The treasure can’t be seen by the thousands of skiers, tourists, truckers, and everyday commuters who regularly drive past the idyllic Colorado foothills community of Genesee.
The gem’s provenance dates back to pre-Revolutionary War times, long before the first miners in search of gold and copper made the trek to the heavily forested landscape, situated at an altitude of 7,743 feet, 20 miles west of what would become the capital city of Denver.
Some might say that the heirloom is a mere illusion,given that it takes no corporeal form. But the willingness of men and women to give of themselves — to volunteer — in the service of their neighbors and communities is as existent and genuinely emblematic of America’s core values as is our red-white-and-blue flag.
The five-decade history of Genesee Fire Rescue Is overflowing with inspiring tales of daring,diligence, sacrifice, and honor.
Dedication and Service invites you to ride along with the volunteers of Genesee Fire Rescue, witnessing the drama, unforgettable tragedies, life-affirming rescues, and priceless camaraderie that is, and has been for 50 years, a well-kept secret at the nape of the Rocky Mountains.
Seen through the eyes of dozens of current and former volunteers, Dedication and Service recounts the evolution of Genesee Fire Rescue from a “boys club” — where recruits were jokingly encouraged to “come for the party, stay for the fire” — into a model fire force, recognized as one of the best volunteer groups in Colorado, if not the country.
These are a few members of the squad who share their stories:
• Sandy Schumacher, who at age 48 in March 1992, became one of the first women, possibly the very first, to lead a Colorado volunteer company.
• Carlton Babbs, an eyewitness to the September 11th terror attacks on the World Trade Center, who, in the calamity’s wake, resolved to be there for others in their time of need.
• Joan Solano, four-foot, eight-inches tall, who nevertheless — although untrained and uncertified — jumped behind the wheel of a fire truck when no one else was available to respond after gas storage tanks erupted in flames.
• Alan Fletcher, who at age 15 joined his parents as a GFR volunteer, sometimes responding to emergency calls on his moped. He ultimately spent 45 years as a firefighter, the last decade as chief of Fairmount Fire in Golden.
Many, if not the majority, of the volunteers who gave of themselves to be part of Genesee Fire Rescue since its start are not mentioned in this book.
Yet the efforts of each former volunteer have served as foundational building blocks in shaping today’s fire company. Their contributions are seamlessly woven into the fabric of the institution, a legacy that continues to thrive across generations.