A Cheyenne firefighter is blazing the trail, after becoming the first in the capital city to complete the National Fire Academy's Managing Officer Program.

Nick Siemens was recognized during a ceremony at Cheyenne Fire and Rescue headquarters this (Tuesday) afternoon.

"It's nice the department took the time to recognize the time commitment and the effort that I put into it," said Siemens. "I want to be a good leader for this department and so those classes are good for helping learn leadership skills."

"When this program comes out it's up to the member of the fire department to seek that additional education," said Fire Prevention Chief Byron Mathews. "Once they fill out that application and they're approved, then the department backs that with the support in making sure that they're successful."

The two-year program consists of five prerequisite courses, four courses at the NFA in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and a community-based capstone project.

Siemens' capstone project was "Now Accepting Applications" - an analysis of why people apply or don't apply to become Cheyenne firefighters.

"When I tested for firefighter here in 2002, I probably tested against 250 people," said Siemens. "So far this year, for our upcoming test, we only have 30 people signed up."

"We're a good department," Siemens added. "We should have more people applying for this great job."

Mathews says Siemen's achievement is a "great example" of how fire officers can develop professionally and make significant contributions to their departments and communities.

"It's absolutely opened the flood gates, per se, to get folks interested," said Mathews. "We currently have two in the application process and we have two more that are going to go ahead and apply for that as well."

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