Rob’s on the Job

Colin Tiernan photo
Rob Brewer, a Glenrock Volunteer Fire Department veteran of more than a decade, is taking over as GVFD chief. 

By Colin Tiernan

On a windy fall day in Converse County, massive flames engulfed the Smith Ranch.
“That fire completely left everybody in the dust,” Glenrock Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rob Brewer said. “It was so big, the wind was blowing so hard, that at a certain point you can’t physically control it, you’re beholden to the weather, the topography.”
The Smith Ranch fire of a few years ago sticks out in Brewer’s mind as one of the most challenging fires he’s seen.
“It gives you an idea of how, in our area specifically, how fast things can progress,” he said. “There was a lot of concerns that they were going to have to make a stand at WYO 59.”
Brewer has been fighting fires for over a decade. As the newly elected chief, he hopes his years of experience, both in the GVFD, emergency medical response and coal mine rescue, will help him lead the GVFD and keep Glenrock and Converse County safe.

Brewer grew up in Casper, and moved to Glenrock with his wife back in 2006. He decided to join the fire department the next year. Today he’s been an officer at the fire department for about a decade, and has been the captain in Rolling Hills.
The fire department was a new experience to Brewer, but he was already highly experienced in rescue. While he worked at a Campbell County mine, he was on a rescue team.
Every year his team would compete at the two-day International Surface Mine Rescue Contest. All of the mines sent teams, and some Nevada gold mines sent teams, too.
At the competition, teams tackled fabricated, complex, highly realistic, rescue scenarios and were graded based on how well they responded. High-angle rope rescue, confined space rescue, medical and fire scenarios, HAZMAT issues, it was all fair game.
“I have very fond memories of those days,” Brewer said
Brewer has volunteering in his blood. He thinks his strong volunteering streak is a product of his upbringing, having grown up in a family that pitched in around town as needed.
“Where (my family) is from, it’s just how you did it . . . because there wasn’t anybody else to do it,” he said.
His time in the Boy Scouts also contributed to his volunteering instincts, and taught him valuable leadership skills.

Brewer works as a Central Processing Plant Operator at Cameco. He doesn’t have much free time. He also works as an EMT basic with Memorial Hospital, typically working the Glenrock ambulance.
When he has a free minute, Brewer has typical Wyoming interests. He likes hunting, fishing and hiking with his wife and daughter, usually here in the county. In the summer he judges horse shows, mostly for 4H. To complete the list of stereotypical Wyoming hobbies, Brewer likes to help his brother-in-law on his ranch and ride horses.

Brewer’s primary goal as chief is to keep the department up on its training.
“Just trying to come up with newer ways, and productive ways to keep guys progressing in their training is something I’d like to accomplish in the department,” Brewer said.
He’d also like to try to maintain and increase the effectiveness of the GVFD’s responses. These days, more volunteers work all day Monday through Friday, often out of town, which is a challenge for call responses.
Brewer said that he has zero interest in the past difficulties between the GVFD and town government, he just wants to better the community.
Members of the previous town council, and current mayor Bruce Roumell have expressed strong desires to add paid positions to the fire department, saying it will significantly improve GVFD’s capabilities, and noting that the town has the money for it. Paid positions could be a great help in an era when volunteer numbers are declining nationwide, and Glenrock isn’t immune to the decrease.
Volunteers at the fire department didn’t reject the idea out of hand, but said they were upset they weren’t appropriately consulted about the potential changes. They also worried about the in-department dynamics stemming from the formation of a quasi-paid GVFD. Tensions could arise if two firefighters perform the same job, but only one gets compensated.
The only thing on Brewer’s mind is improving the department.
“Everybody’s thoughts, concerns, rumors, innuendos, I’m not really interested,” Brewer said of the GVFD/town issues. “From this point forward we just need to come up with something that’s going to better our community, whatever it is.”
There could be new paid firefighters hired to supplement the volunteer force. There could even be an entirely paid department. Maybe the volunteers could be paid somehow. Brewer said he doesn’t yet know what will happen, he just wants to do what’s best for the safety in the town, Rolling Hills and GVFD’s other county areas.
“Funding firefighters would probably be the best way to have an immediate change on our response,” Brewer said. “How that’s going to look – the future will hold for us.”
Brewer’s true goal is simply doing right by the community.
“I just hope I can be up to the task . . . This is my first shot at something like this,” Brewer said of becoming the new chief. “I just want to do the maximum amount of good for the maximum amount of people possible.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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