Four veteran Yukon firefighters have been selected to join an elite group of firefighters from across the state who participate in search and rescue missions.
Capt. Brad Homme, Capt. Cary Provence, Sgt. Dustin Noel and Cpl. Kirk Ellington were recently selected to be members of Oklahoma Task Force 1.
The group often is deployed during times of national emergencies, such as the flooding last year in Houston.
During that event, several Yukon firefighters were asked to participate in the search and rescue efforts because of their swift-water rescue training.
“That became a lot of our members’ first experience working through Task Force 1. I believe the hard work and professionalism, and seeing what Yukon firefighters were doing and how they were interacting was part of the equation in their selection,” said Yukon Deputy Fire Chief Kyle Trumbly.
Six Yukon firefighters applied for the task force. There were only 25 spots available across the state, said Noel, who is a 15-year veteran of the Yukon Fire Department.
“This is quite an honor,” said Noel. “Being associated with the search and rescue team serves a wonderful purpose. Cities large and small depend outside assistance during times of emergency. This is a wonderful opportunity to represent our city and our state.”
Trumbly agreed that it is an honor for the firefighters and for the city.
“It is a big deal for our fire department. It’s a big deal for the individuals and for the citizens because of the level of training these individuals get and will be able to share with other members of the department,” the deputy chief said.
Trumbly said the department has been training for several years to get to the point of having someone on Task Force 1. Having four is even better.
“This is a project we have been working on for several years. Whether it was logistical issues, or we were quite trained enough, we’ve had a few stumbling blocks. But we have the support of the community. It takes sacrifices from both the city and the individual. Both are willing to do this for this cause,” he said. “When you do the type of work we do where there is pride and honor in doing the service, when you have the opportunity to be part of something elite, it is a huge deal for them.”
The firefighters will begin their work with Task Force 1 later this month. Training will be scheduled later in the year, Trumbly said.