Meet the East Grand Fire Protection District 4 Board candidates
The board election will be held on May 2 at the fire district headquarters
East Grand Fire Protection District 4 is holding a board election on Tuesday, May 2. Three candidates are running to serve on the board of directors – Donald Maurais, Ryan Barwick and Mark Pappas.
Residents can cast their vote for the next board members at the district headquarters located at 77601 U.S. Highway 40. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Those who can’t make the polls in person can request an absentee ballot no later than April 25. They can pick up absentee ballot applications at the office of the designated election official at the district headquarters.
The board is made of five members, who serve a four-year term. The Board is made of five members, who serve a four-year term. Every two years, directors are elected on an alternating schedule.
To help readers learn more about the three candidates, below is a Q&A. Mark Pappas did not respond by press time.
How long have you lived in Grand County?
Donald Maurais: I have been a year-round resident for 33 years.
Ryan Barwick: 2009.
Why did you choose to run for the position of board member with East Grand Fire District?
Donald Maurais: I wanted to help our local community. I thought my experience as a firefighter would benefit the board.
Ryan Barwick: The community is at a pivotal point in the growth of our valley, and I would like to contribute my perspective of a resident raising his family here and that of a local business owner/employer. Change has occurred fast, and planning for keeping the continued growth of our community and first responder services aligned with need is paramount.
What is your work experience, and how does your work experience/skills relate to the position of board member? Have you served on the board before?
Donald Maurais: I have been in emergency services for over 25 years. I worked for Grand County EMS but commuted to the Front Range for most of my career. I currently work as a professional firefighter/paramedic in Westminster. I worked for “Flight For Life” in both Summit County and Denver for five years. I am currently an East Grand Fire board member.
Ryan Barwick: I previously served on the Fraser Town Board. I own and operate multiple local businesses. I have never served on the East Grand Fire District Board.
What changes/improvements would you like to bring to the community through East Grand Fire, and what will you keep the same? What are your goals overall while serving on the board?
Donald Maurais: I would like to ensure we are prepared for challenges faced in our growing community. Growth in our protection services needs to be tailored to match population and tourism growth. We already approved the construction of a new fire station in the south side of our district, but that is just one aspect of our continuing needs. Our department already provides a professional, high-quality service. I would like to ensure that this high standard is maintained.
Ryan Barwick: Keeping up with an ever-increasing call volume, attracting new talent as far as volunteers and paid staff, continuing to update equipment and apparatus while remaining vigilant and accountable to the taxpayers of the district is crucial. Continuing to create awareness about programs that home and property owners can utilize to keep their homes mitigated for wildfire is something I would like to support.
In your mind, how can East Grand Fire best serve and protect the community from fire danger, and how will they accomplish this?
Donald Maurais: Progressive code enhancement and enforcement are one avenue. Mitigation efforts in wildland/urban interface areas are another. We have actively enhanced these efforts over the last several years and will continue enhancements moving forward.
Ryan Barwick: As previously stated, wildfire awareness, education and mitigation is critical for the preparedness of the community when the next wildfire eventually comes. Working effectively with property owners and the wildfire council is critical. Projects such as Team Rubicon need to be supported and hopefully grown.
As wildfire danger grows due to climate change impacts such long standing drought, plus human intervention/increased tourism, how will East Grand Fire prepare for these issues?
Donald Maurais: The East Troublesome fire made clear to many how dangerous wildfire can be. That and several of the other large, recent fires have created an environment of support for wildfire mitigation and operational streamlining for future events. East Grand has established a closer relationship with the surrounding federal agencies, the sheriff’s office and fire departments. I hope to see these relationships continue. I also hope we take full advantage of federal and state funding to enhance wildfire mitigation efforts.
Ryan Barwick: Editor’s Note- See Barwick’s response to the question above.
What else would you like to add for our readers to know about you?
Donald Maurais: As a professional firefighter, I understand the needs and wishes of the district. I also understand that as a board member I need to represent the needs of the taxpayer/resident population as well. I have tried to balance the needs of our community in a fiscally responsible manner. I hope to be reelected onto the board to continue in that role.
Ryan Barwick: As a business owner and resident, I would be remiss to not mention the ongoing struggle with employee housing. As our community grows, housing our future workforce and firefighters must not be overlooked, whether it be with creative housing solutions or impact fees. While there is no one solution, an open mind to a plethora of incremental solutions can begin to create a positive impact.
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