GLENDO – The Glendo Volunteer Fire Department hosted its second annual Glendo chili cook-off last Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the Glendo Fire Hall and over 150 people packed the fire hall for the event.
The event, billed as a chili cookoff was also featuring contests for cornbread and desserts. With help from the local FFA kids, the barn was set up for business by the time the doors opened on Saturday night with a video program presented by Glendo’s fire chief Dave Noyce.
It presented the importance of fighting fires in a small community with a small group of dedicated individuals who work strictly on a volunteer basis.
“This is technically the second annual cookoff, but because of COVID we have had to take a hiatus for two years,” Noyce said. “This started as a chili feed. The second year we planned on having a cookoff since we had everyone coming, but then COVID hit. And you know how THAT went.”
This year there was 14 chili competitors, cornbread contestants and dessert contests. The entrance feel was only $5 with children under 5 years of age coming in for free. The admission included three votes for People’s Choice Awards. In addition, there was a silent auction, prize raffles and a 50/50 raffle.
Silent auction items included everything from a new Trager grill to handmade quilts, canned goods and even golf clubs.
The event was held to raise money for the volunteer fire department and to bring the community together. The town of Glendo provides a budget to help maintain response vehicles and equipment because the budget is simply not large enough to cover all expenses. The department works to obtain additional funding through grants, but many of them only cover 50% of the costs.
The funds that were raised will be used to provide bunker gear, radios, new quick response rescue and medical vehicle, replacement of worn out self-contained breathing apparatus and the replacement of outdated SCBA air fill stations with ones that are cleaner, faster and mobile.
“The top need is for an updated rescue vehicle,” Noyce said. “Our big rescue unit is great for a lot of things, but we need something smaller for running to the mountains and getting there quicker, because unfortunately the one we have now doesn’t go very fast. We need something like an ambulance size that two guys can jump in and you can get there quick and start setting things up, assessing the situation so that those who are coming know what to expect. Our number one job is to bring order to the chaos.”
Noyce not only has his hand on the pulse of the community, but takes every crisis professionally and personally. As he says, when it’s on his watch, he has to be focused. When asked about how he handles a bad day working in a trauma-based job, he candidly says that you have to take the good with the bad and sometimes you sleep at night and sometimes you don’t. There are things that even Noyce, when he remembers the heinous nature of the damage, that he won’t revisit that period of his life.
You have to be something of a hero to be called to that kind of work. And behind every hero there is another hero at home – taking care of the ones who take care of the community.
He has a support system in his fiancé Rosalie Campbell who took it upon herself this year to roll her sleeves up and take the reigns.
“I’m pretty new to this,” Campbell said. “We’ve been together only about a year and a half. We will be married probably next spring, so I am still learning a lot of the trauma that he goes through in the job he has. Even though I knew what he did, it’s kind of a feel your way as you go.”
Campbell who worked in the corporate world in Denver for years has not only been a great support to the cookoff, but also to her soon-to-be husband.
“On paper it may not look like we’re supposed to work,” she said. “But we do. We can and we do talk about anything and everything together. So, I don’t worry about him bottling anything up. As for the event, you know that COVID put it on hold that first year and the second year we just didn’t have anyone step up. All I wanted was to be a part of it, and I wanted to be involved, and what it turned out to be was, ‘here it’s yours.’”
And Campbell was the organizer for the needs of not only her husband, but for a community.
“I said, OK, I’ll run with it,” she said. “I spent 25 years in the corporate world as a corporate vice-president and I’ve done events. I’ve done all kinds of things like this.”
Campbell is not only a member of the community, but also a caregiver for a trauma-based husband. It can be a scary position to be in.
“The fire last July,” she said. “They got that call and I expected him to be back soon. One hour passed, two hours passed. I was already in bed and he had to get up and go. I kept waking up and checking my phone. I kept thinking I was hearing the car and I was worried. That was the only one so far that has made me worry.”
When a community comes together to raise funds to help those who will be the heroes in community crisises, it means the world to those who have to give up their Christmases, their kid’s birthdays, their holidays, their weekends… their sleep. As for Noyce, he is so grateful for a community that cares.
“I’m totally blown away by the number of people here,” Noyce said. “Last time we did this we had eight competitors for chili. This year we doubled that. Also this year we have the kids from the FFA here to help serve the chili as a community service. That’s super important. I mean, there’s only four or five of them. We’re a little community to have all the volunteers here. Some we know, some just walked in off the street and wanted to help.”
To put something together and draw almost more people than live in the town is not without its challenges according to Noyes.
“Not having enough people is a big challenge,” Noyce said. “Like I said, we have nine volunteer firefighters. Even in my case, I have another job working in the mines so I’m only here about half the month. We have some guys who are only here on weekends and even some who are retired. We have a real mishmash of people that are here.”
Noyce has a proven track record as a leader in the community and a man who is vigilant concerning the needs of Glendo trauma. He also has garnered respect from neighboring fire departments as evidenced by both Guernsey and Palmer Canyon fire chiefs, Jeff Thomas and Will De Ryk who both showed up with their families.
“We have a mutual agreement with all the surrounding fire departments and surrounding counties,” Noyce said. “We take it very seriously. Somebody calls for help, we’re going to send what we can. There are times that we can’t send everybody because of course we have to protect home too.”
The Glendo Volunteer fire department responds to fires, accidents, medical assistance calls and other hazardous events in an approximately 624 square mile area which includes 22 miles of I-25 and Glendo State Park.
To get more information or to help out in any way, you don’t have to wait until next year’s chili cookoff as the needs are very grear. Please call Sabrine Mace at 307-359-5297 or you can visit the organization at [email protected]