For those who did not know, the Blanco Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated in 1990 as a volunteer department with the objectives of fire fighting, educating and training citizens, and providing other emergency services to the people of Blanco County. Although composed of volunteers, the department also has paid fire fighters. Both volunteers and paid firefighters perform the vital role of protecting our community from fires and educating its citizens about fire prevention.
A volunteer firefighter devotes his or her time, non-paid, (except for a minor stipend) to be trained and respond to fire fighting requirements within our district. Not only does that individual devote both time and money to serving their community as a volunteer, but also exposes him or herself to the inherent dangers of fire fighting every time they are called. In short, it takes a special person, dedicated to service, to be a volunteer fire fighter.
If one looked in the dictionary for the words “Public Service” they may very well find Assistant Fire Chief Robert Stewart under that definition. Robert is this article’s featured volunteer fire fighter. Assistant Chief Stewart graduated from Smithson Valley High School in 1998 and was a volunteer firefighter for the Canyon Lake fire department while still in high school. It was during that period that he decided to make a career of being a firefighter. He graduated from the Canyon Lake Fire Academy in 1999 and was hired as a full time firefighter by the Bulverde Fire Department, while simultaneously volunteering in the Spring Branch Fire Department. Shortly thereafter, he decided to obtain his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and also became an EMT. He worked in Hays county for the fire and emergency medical departments. In 2001 he was hired full time by the Canyon Lake Fire Department where he served while in high school.
In 2007 he decided to also become a Police Officer and entered the San Antonio College Law Enforcement Training Academy, while still working as a volunteer firefighter and EMS technician. He graduated from the Police Academy in 2008 and began training with the Blanco Police Department. Also that same year, he began working as a volunteer with the Blanco Volunteer Fire Department and EMS. He was hired as a full time employee of the Police Department in 2009 and has been promoted to Sergeant within the Department. Since being employed as a Blanco Police Officer, Sergeant has received several citations for exceptional service.
In summary, Police Sergeant and Assistant Fire Chief Robert Stewart exemplifies “public service”. The Blanco community is fortunate to have individuals of his caliber willing to protect and serve their fellow citizens. A Big Thanks, Salute, and Hats Off to him for his service!
If you, or anyone you know, is interested in becoming a volunteer with the BVFD, the basic requirements are: 18 years of age, a clean criminal and driving record, available time for training and education, and a sincere desire to serve the community. Call Chief Ron Sallman, 833-5009, or drop by the Fire Station to discuss the opportunity. We look forward to meeting you!