My Name Is … Matt Rettmer

Castle Rock man completes prestigious fire program

Posted 10/8/18

About me I was born and raised in Minnesota and completed my high school and college education in the Minnesota and South Dakota region. After receiving my bachelor's degree in fitness and wellness …

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My Name Is … Matt Rettmer

Castle Rock man completes prestigious fire program

Posted

About me

I was born and raised in Minnesota and completed my high school and college education in the Minnesota and South Dakota region. After receiving my bachelor's degree in fitness and wellness management, I completed paramedic training and moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and worked for a small suburban fire department as a fire medic. A year and a half later, I was pursuing a more progressive fire department and moved to Castle Rock in 1998 to work for the fire department. I have lived and worked in Castle Rock for 20 years and have a true sense of “home” living here. I am currently married (my wife works for the South Metro Fire Department) and have two daughters ages 12 and 14.

A special recognition

The Executive Fire Officer Program (EFO) is offered on the campus of the National Fire Academy located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, which is just six miles from Gettysburg and the historic Civil War battlegrounds. The EFO program is designed to provide senior fire officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire administration and provides attendees with the expertise needed to succeed in today's challenging fire and emergency services environment. There are four courses, each lasting two weeks on campus, and require the completion of a written Applied Research Project (ARP) to demonstrate the application of each course's theory and concepts to real-life situations within each student's own organization. Each of these projects was evaluated through a formal process, and progression through the program is contingent on achieving each of these milestones.

The amount of work to complete this program is the equivalent of a master's degree. I completed the program in April 2018 and was officially recognized and awarded the certification at the Oct. 2 town council meeting.

'Truly makes me proud'

Fire Chief Norris Croom provided a brief description of the program to the council and remarked that completing this EFO program puts me in the top 1 percent of all fire officers in the U.S. This was a remarkable piece of information that I was not aware of and truly makes me proud and grateful. I must also recognize a few that I'm sharing this with: my wife, Heidi, who was my consistent motivator/proofreader and confidant. In addition, a few co-workers who have also completed their EFO designations: Fire Chief Croom, Battalion Chief Eric Morgenthaler and Lt./Paramedic Jason Butts; their continued advisement and perspectives were extremely valuable during this process. We currently have other members of our department interested in the program as well as Training Chief Chris McCarthy in year two of his EFO process.

My passion

It sounds cliché, but the love to serve others is the passion for my career. I was raised by parents who were community servants. My dad was the president of the chamber of commerce and economic community developer for our small town in Minnesota. My mom was an insurance agent and in a farming community, an insurance agent is every bit of a public servant. I was raised watching my parents always helping others and being there for the members of the community and that has never left my moral fabric. My passion to serve others also means serving those I lead and work with. My energy to help my co-workers learn, grow, and succeed is a consistent motivator for me.

My advice

Watch less news, put your phone down and get outside and enjoy where you live, be present. Call or talk to your mom/dad/brother/sister/son/daughter more than you already do. Love what you do ... if you don't, quit.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is…, contact Jessica Gibbs at jgibbs@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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