The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

Chief Harwig ñ a familiar face in Falcon

Trenton Harwig is a Colorado native, a longstanding resident of Falcon and a friendly and familiar face as the fire chief for the Falcon Fire Protection District.Harwig, who has lived in Falcon for more than 18 years, said, ìFalcon is still like the community I grew up in. It still has that small-town feel.îBorn in Eads, Colo., he grew up in Salida, where his father worked for Foster Lumber Co. When Harwig was 5 years old, his father took a job with Everett Lumber Co. in Colorado Springs. ìMy father was always in the construction business his whole life Ö he started out in the lumber yards and then went to residential construction.îHarwig attended Grant Elementary School and Horace Mann Junior High School and graduated from Doherty High School in 1983.In 1984, Harwig met his wife, Michele, at Safeway, where he worked part-time. ìShe was in the store shopping, and I was working in the dairy department,î he said. ìShe just came down the aisle and we started talking.î They tied the knot in 1987 and have two daughters: Destinee and Karalee. In his spare time, besides hunting and fishing, Harwig said he enjoys quality time with his grandkids.While working at Safeway, Harwig also worked in construction for Shephard Homes.Shortly after he married Michele, the instruction industry declined so he went into business with his father-in-law. ìMy father-in-law decided that he wanted to try opening some transmission businesses,î Harwig said. ìSo, we started working out of his garage and he showed me a few things.î The business, McFall Transmissions, grew to three locations throughout Colorado Springs. In 1995, Harwig started another business venture with his father and father-in-law. The trio started their own construction business, Sierra Vista Homes, building custom homes in Falcon and the surrounding area. ìAnd that is what brought me to Falcon,î he said. After renting a home in Falcon, Harwig built a new home for his own family. Over the next few years, Sierra Vista Homes expanded to the north side of Falcon, into the forested area, he said.In 1997, in the midst of working the two businesses and still working part-time at Safeway, Harwig said he decided he wanted to volunteer in the community. Harwigís brother, a firefighter in Durango, Colo., had been encouraging him to volunteer at the FFPD. At one of their transmission shops, Harwig met Dan Kupferer, the then FFPD volunteer deputy chief, when he came in to get his car repaired. ìWe started talking and he told me he was on the fire department (in Falcon),î Harwig said. The visit prompted Harwig to attend a couple of fire department meetings, and eventually he joined the ranks as a volunteer firefighter.He said the all-volunteer fire department consisted of mostly first and second generation families, as well as husband and wife teams. ìBack then (1997), it was traditional to volunteer,î he said. ìYou did the best you could. There were no minimum requirements.îHarwig worked his way up to volunteer deputy chief. In 2002, after the fire chief was terminated, volunteer Chief Rick Miller filled in as interim chief. Miller stayed in the interim position for about nine months and then resigned. In January 2003, after going through the selection process, Harwig was hired permanently as the fire chief. When Harwig started as a volunteer firefighter, he said there were only six people. Today, there are 28 paid firefighters and about 20 volunteers. Falcon only began paying firefighters in 2000, Harwig said. Paid firefighter positions are one of the most sought after jobs in the nation, he said. ìIt is hard to get picked up,î Harwig said. Besides a good salary and benefits, he said, ìMost of all, it is a rewarding job.îWith more than 16 years with the department, Harwig said he has seen plenty of changes. Volunteers are now required to be certified and log in a certain amount of hours. ìMost of our volunteers today are looking for an opportunity in training and advancement in their degrees,î he said. ìItís a stepping stone.îFalcon firefighters were involved in two of the biggest fires to hit the area in the last couple of years ñ the Waldo Canyon fire and the Black Forest fire. Harwig was in Gunnison fishing when news of the Waldo Canyon fire broke out. ìI was watching it on TV like everyone else,î he said. ìI came home the next day because I knew our crews had to be involved, but we also had an obligation to protect our citizens here.îHarwig said he is excited about the future of the FFPD. ìThe most exciting thing to me is not being part of what it is now but what itís going to be.”

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers