The City of Grand Junction continues to invest in the professional development of its employees. In addition to the generous benefit package and numerous other resources, the City also assists in paying for training and certifications for employees who are looking to enhance and expand their skill sets. Grand Junction Firefighter & Paramedic, Bronwyn Stevens, is proof of the City’s commitment to its employees. Over the course of the last three and a half years, Stevens has obtained her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification, completed the Fire Academy, and just recently finished paramedic school – all of which were funded by the City of Grand Junction.
Stevens first heard about an EMT recruit position at the City of Grand Junction when she was living in Fresno, California attending California State University, where she also competed on the softball team. She had just obtained her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and was considering her next steps when her brother, who lives in Grand Junction, told her about the City’s job listing. Stevens was soon hired as an EMT recruit in early 2020. It was the first time the Grand Junction Fire Department, the largest department between Denver and Salt Lake City, offered the EMT recruit position.
“As a City and a fire department, we are investing in individuals who have the integrity, willingness to learn, and the desire to serve our community,” said Battalion Chief Ben Blehm. “The future of our department is about choosing individuals that walk in the door with the right qualities and giving them the support and training to become the best firefighter, EMT, or paramedic they can be.”
After working as an EMT for a year, Stevens attended the six-month Fire Academy beginning in February 2021. She worked as a firefighter for a year before signing up for paramedic school, which started in August of 2022. During the 10-month-long program, the City supported her by cutting back her time at work while continuing to pay her full salary and benefits. “It was really nice because I could continue to focus on school and studying and doing clinicals,” Stevens said.
Some of Stevens’ clinicals were spent in the emergency departments of both local hospitals, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Community Hospital. “Each rotation had a different objective,” she said. “I was able to work with the medical director for a few of them. During one, we were interpreting EKGs; during another, the focus was on giving medications. We were able to follow around nurses and physicians and ask them questions.”
For Stevens, the transition from college locker room to spending long shifts with co-workers at the fire station was very easy. “I really enjoy the people who I work with,” she said. “We have a really big family atmosphere. I also like going into the public and the community and interacting with people.” The team mentality and atmosphere are certainly similar between sports and firefighting, Clingman said. “For people coming out of the military or a college sports career who need to figure out what the next thing is, (firefighting) is a great opportunity,” he said. The comradery among the team, both in sport and work, is a very similar culture.
Along with a fulfilling career, Stevens has also fallen in love with the Grand Junction area.
“The community is smaller than Fresno, so it’s a lot easier to build relationships and find community here,” Stevens said. “I love it here. I like the access to outdoor recreation. I love mountain biking, going on the river, climbing, and Grand Junction offers all of that and more.”
Firefighting can be a competitive career field, “but it’s a good time to be in the Grand Junction area and want to be a firefighter because the department is growing,” Clingman said. The next round of hiring for EMT recruits is planned to start in April 2024.
To learn more about working for the City of Grand Junction Fire Department, watch this video or visit this link. Discover what it’s like to work for the City by checking out what other employees have shared and learn about other open positions by visiting the City of Grand Junction job board.