Firefighter event to benefit scholarship in honor of Brett Stearns |
Nicole Inglis

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Firefighter event to benefit scholarship in honor of Brett Stearns

Brett Michael Stearns

— Bureau of Land Management firefighters’ end-of-season party is a celebration of another fire season gone by.

But, tonight at the Old Town Pub in Steamboat Springs, someone will be missing from the festivities.

Brett Stearns, a longtime Craig resident and Bureau of Land Management firefighter, died June 26 while clearing hazardous trees from the Freeman Resevoir recreation area.

He was 29.

The end-of-season party is usually a fundraiser for a national organization that helps injured firefighters and their families, but this year, the donations will be kept closer to home.

All of the funds from the silent auction and raffles will go to benefit a memorial scholarship set up in Stearns’ name.

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“Brett was really active at Colorado Northwestern Community College,” said Brian Henley, a firefighter with Craig Hotshots. “He was in the process of taking about every class they had there. From physics to biblical archeology, you name it. He was just super active in his education. He was a good teacher and a good learner.”

Henley said Craig Hotshots and the Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit decided it was appropriate to host the fundraiser in honor of Stearns and his family this year.

Henley said the Craig community has opened up its arms in support of the event.

“We’ve had local businesses that have given gift certificates and merchandise for our silent auction,” Henley said. “We’ll have a raffle for everything from spa gift certificates to a chain saw and work boots.”

Henley said the Craig hotshots will show a video they’ve made throughout the summer and BLM firefighters will have a slideshow of photos of their work this season.

A band comprised of workers from the Little Snake Field office will provide live entertainment.

Although the support of the community has been wonderful so far, Henley encouraged businesses and community members to be present at the event to show support for Stearns and the rest of the fire community.

“They see us out everyday, driving around in our yellow buggies and coming into businesses smelling like smoke,” Henley said. “Now it’s their turn to socialize with us, and it’s our time to mingle with the community.”

If you go

What: Memorial fundraiser for Bureau of Land Management firefighter Brett Stearns

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Old Town Pub in Steamboat Springs, 600 Lincoln Ave.