Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Rapid City Fire Department Welcomes Twelve New Recruits

Recruits Performing Well in Academy

Rapid City, S.D. - Twelve individuals began their careers with the Rapid City Fire Department on January 16. The recruits are beginning week four of the eleven-week academy process and are reported to be performing at a high level. The recruits are set to graduate at the end of March and will begin riding apparatus around April 1. The twelve recruits bring with them a variety of personal and professional experience to the Rapid City Fire Department

Dane Carlson- Dane is originally from Rapid City and is a St. Thomas More High School graduate. Recruit Carlson holds a degree in Exercise Science from Dakota Wesleyan University. Dane currently serves as the strength and conditioning coach for the Rapid City Rush. 

Jans Carlson- Jans is from Rapid City. Jans has previous fire service experience as he has been a member of the Rapid Valley Fire Department since August of 2015. Recruit Carlson also has experience in swift water rescue, mountain rescue and avalanche safety.

Matthew Curley- Matthew is originally from Douglas, Wyoming where he became a volunteer firefighter at age 16. Recruit Curley graduated from Casper College with a Fire Science degree and is currently enrolled in training to become a Paramedic. He anticipates graduating that program in May of 2017. Matthew enjoys the outdoors and riding motorcycles in the Black Hills. 

Nate Hower- Nate is from Rapid City and is a veteran of the United States Air Force where he worked as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician. Recruit Hower enjoys outdoors pursuits including hunting, fishing and camping.

Jordan Johnson- Jordan is originally from Platte, S.D. Jordan attended the University of Sioux Falls where he studied Sports Management and played football. While at USF, Recruit Johnson played defensive back and was part of the 2009 National Championship team. Jordan has previous fire service experience as a volunteer firefighter with the Platte VFD and the Rapid Valley Fire Department. 

Jonathon Knutson- Jon is a lifelong resident of Rapid City. Recruit Knutson is currently pursuing a degree in Professional Accountancy through Black Hills State University. Active in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting, Recruit Knutson has close to 30 bouts in his professional career. In addition to MMA, Jon competes in Brazilian Jiujitsu tournaments around the country. 

Dustin Kotzenmacher- Dustin is a native of Monticello, Minnesota. Recruit Kotzenmacher was a member of the Wright County Special Response Unit/Task Force Team and has 3 1/2 years of experience as Firefighter/EMT with the City of Monticello. Dustin is excited about the opportunity to live and work in Rapid City and the Black Hills.

Austin Mitchell-Briggs-  Austin is a lifelong native of Rapid City and is a 2003 graduate of Rapid City Stevens High School. Recruit Mitchell-Briggs is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Austin has an 8 year-old son that he describes as "my everything" and was the major driving force behind his decision to become a Rapid City Firefighter.  

Donavin Neugebauer- Donavin is originally from Rapid City and is a 2014 graduate of Rapid City Central High School. Donavin is on track to graduate from Western Dakota Technical Institute in the spring of 2017 with an Associates degree in Fire Science. Recruit Neugebauer has previous fire service experience as a seasonal employee of the United States Forest Service.

Bryan Ott- Bryan is originally from Elkader, Iowa. In 2014, Recruit Ott moved to the Black Hills to accept a position as a forester in the Hill City area. Bryan has a Bachelors of Science in Forestry from Iowa State University and previous fire service experience as a member of the Custer Fire Department. Bryan is following in the footsteps of his father who was also a firefighter. 

Brent Rutherford- Brent is originally from Sacramento, California and is a veteran of the United States Air Force where he served for 10 years as a jet engine mechanic. Brent graduated from Western Dakota Technical Institute with an Associates degree in Fire Science and has one season of experience with the State of South Dakota as a member of the Bear Mountain Hand Crew.

Michael Vallone-  Michael is a native of Santa Barbara, California. After high school graduation, Michael attended Allan Hancock College near Santa Barbara and graduated with an Associates degree in Fire Science. Michael spent two years on a hand crew in the Los Padres National Forest. In 2015, Recruit Vallone accepted a position with the United States Forest Service that brought him to Rapid City. Michael and his family are excited to make Rapid City their new home.

Please join us in congratulating these individuals as we welcome them to an exciting and fulfilling career among Rapid City's Bravest.

For questions or comments related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at (605)-394-4180.


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