by Anastasia Button
When visiting the Kremmling Fire Protection District station, you experience an aura of pride, humor, and brotherly bonding. As some members group together for a photo by a fire engine, it’s clear that many memories are shared between the firefighters, Fire Chief Tony Tucker, Captain Brady Mathis, and recently retired Assistant Chief Jim “Jimbo” Carland.
After 25-years of volunteering, Jimbo retired from Kremmling Fire on April 11, 2020, at the age of 54. Jimbo explains, “I picked my 25th anniversary to retire. A good friend and past Captain, Ted Wall, told me that ‘you just name your date and stick to it.’ So two years ago, I decided to cut it off after 25 years.”
Jimbo moved to Kremmling in search of affordable housing for his family, and his realtor suggested volunteering with the Fire Department. Six-months later, then Fire Chief Rich Rosene invited him to come and see what was in store when being involved with the Kremmling Fire Department. Jimbo dove right into volunteering, “I decided not to have any expectation and to be open-minded. They are a great group of guys who taught me a lot of stuff and embraced my presence. It felt like I fit in.” Jimbo’s wife, Debbie Carland, was extremely supportive from the beginning of Jimbo’s firefighting career.
The Kremmling Fire Department consists of a small staff of paid firefighters, and the remaining support comes from volunteer firefighters–which was the origin of its founding in 1946. As most first responders witness the deepest areas of human vulnerability, a brotherhood bond is naturally formed and strengthened.
Jimbo mentions his bond and admiration for the men with whom he served. “Tony is a mentor to me. He knows the direction that he wants the department to go and has been the Chief the majority of my career. There is a lot to be learned from the guy if you just sit and listen. And Brady–I was Assistant Chief when he joined, and he has developed and blossomed into quite an amazing person.”
The feeling of respect was more than mutual as stories were exchanged and told of Jimbo’s extraordinary leadership, jovial spirit, and dedication.
“Jimbo joined in 1995 and knew absolutely nothing, but he built up experience and wanted to be part of the community. He always preached that we don’t join for notability, and Jim held true to that. Thanks for the 25 years of service, Jim,” said Fire Chief Tony Tucker.
“I knew Jim as an appliance guy when I first joined, but I didn’t know he had this whole superhero alter-ego,” tells Captain Brady Mathis. “His level of knowledge, professionalism, and skill as a firefighter is uncanny. Jim left a legacy of personal dedication to self-improvement. He left people behind who know and have the responsibility to take care of the rest. He’s a friend, a brother, a mentor, and a leader.”
Jimbo continues to move forward as owner of Jimbo’s Appliance Company and is currently looking for his next volunteer opportunity.
The values of the Fire Department remain and will continue to thrive, even after Jim’s retirement, with a strong resolve each member gladly upholds. “Duty, Honor, Integrity, and Loyalty are the basis. And your integrity must be beyond reproach! Otherwise your decisions and actions will be questioned,” maintains the retired Assistant Chief Jim “Jimbo” Carland.
Readers who have considered volunteering at the Kremmling Fire Protection District are encouraged by Jimbo and the Fire Department to explore the opportunities. More information can be found at www. kremmlingfire.org.