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February 15th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 7
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Evan Stewart, Station 24’s new Fire Captain for Pass
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Evan Stewart was selected for promotion to Captain’s rank for the Blairmore station.
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
With a military background and a professionalism, dedication and positivity that caught the attention of Fire Chief Jesse Fox, Evan Stewart was selected for promotion to Captain rank on Jan. 26.

As captain, Stewart is the focal point for crew at Station 24 in Blairmore. He acts as the filter between the chief and deputy chief, doing all that he can in resolving issues and making decisions prior to escalating.

“The captains are relied upon to look after the stations as well as all of the trucks and firefighters,” he says. “As a captain, your focus is on learning the chief and deputy chief’s jobs in the event that they’re not around, so that we could step up and take the reins for them in their absence as their designates.”

Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services Jesse Fox says that, “Evan now has a much greater ability to influence the direction of the department with his promotion to Captain. I am looking for people to take ownership in advancing our department rather than just waiting to be directed. Evan will now be faced with the challenge of continuing professional development while encouraging others to do the same.”

Fox adds that Stewart carefully chosen for the Captain position based on his job performance, strong work ethic and general suitability for the position.
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“Captain Stewart consistently demonstrated all of these criteria and has the respect of the department,” says Fox. “Evan is a natural leader and I see him actively enhancing our public safety in the community.”

Although he was surprised when Fire Chief Jesse Fox advised him that he was selected for promotion, Stewart says he is serious about his job in the fire hall, and aspiring to move up is a natural progression.

“My goal is to take the chief’s job away from him,” he says. “I personally don’t believe that I’m anywhere near ready for that, but through experience, time and more training, at the end of the day, I may look into being a district chief or a fire chief somewhere, or a full time firefighter.”

For Stewart, joining the fire department was an easy choice for the excitement, camaraderie and sense of purpose he missed after leaving the military in 2014 for family reasons. He started at the fire hall as a probationary firefighter and was promoted to Lieutenant in 2016.

“Leaving the military was a big thing for me. It was something I wanted to do my whole life, but family comes first,” he says. “The first year my oldest son was born, I was deployed for eight months and when I came home, he was walking and talking, but he didn’t know who I was. So that was what made me decided to leave the military, but it’s still leaving a big group of people you consider your brothers over time.|

Serving in the military for nine years equipped Stewart with many transferable skills to the fire fighter role, from medical, leadership, backcountry, and mountaineering skills that come in use.
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“I like being a part of that command and control structure and know that I’m doing the best and having the most authority I can to keep my guys safe at the end of the day,” says Stewart. “I like the challenge of being an officer and being the one that the guys look to at the end of the day for information and direction.”

But like the military, the fire department has its own family difficulties, which Stewart says comes down to striking a balance and finding the right amount of time to commit at the fire hall.

“I’m blessed to have a woman who supports me the way that she does,” he says, referring to his wife, Kaitlin. “I spend as much time with my family as I can, but I do definitely spend a lot of time down here at the hall. It is taxing on time with family, for sure, but at the end of the day, it’s one of the necessary parts that people in this business deal with.”

Although he has his eye set on the chief position long-term, he says right now, his main focus is on becoming a better captain.

“Right now, my goal is to become more effective at my current position. I definitely haven’t mastered it yet. There’s a lot of training opportunities that I’d like to take advantage of.”

Stewart moved to the Pass in 2014 and lives with his wife Kaitlin and his two sons, five-year-old Ryder and one-year-old Vance.
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February 15th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 7
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