The Evergreen Fire Protection District is holding an election for three open Board of Directors seats on Tuesday, May 3 at the Bergen Park Fire Station from 7 am – 7 pm. Candidates Stacey Ballinger, Julie Ann Courim and John Putt have a vision for improving the safety of our community and supporting our critical volunteers. These candidates are your neighbors and concerned citizens!

Stacey Ballinger

A Colorado native, Stacey has lived, worked and raised a family in the foothills and mountain communities. In 2003, she and her husband bought their family business in Lakewood, where Stacey took over the financial department, overseeing the financial growth and stability of the company. She became interested in emergency services and served as a dispatcher for Evergreen Fire/Rescue (EFR).

“I have never found greater reward from a job than being a dispatcher—being a person’s lifeline is a remarkable sentiment. And I believe my

experience as a business owner combined with my experience in emergency services makes me a great candidate for the board of directors for Evergreen Fire Protection District,” Stacey says. “I will be dedicated to studying all the needs of the district, the volunteers and the community, ensuring we can set a course to improve and address each challenge our district meets.”

Julie Ann Courim

Julie Ann has been an Evergreen resident since 2017 and mountain corridor community member for 24 years. She currently serves on the Soda Creek HOA Board of Directors and is the Community Wildfire Protection Implementation Plan (CWPIP) Ambassador for Fillius Park/Soda Creek. Julie Ann also served eight years on the Foothills Fire Protection District Board. She has an MBA in Finance and over

30 years of Information Technology and Project Management experience.

“I care deeply about my community and its long-term success,” says Julie Ann.  “If elected,

I will strive to increase community involvement, build collaborative relationships, and provide guidance, direction, and oversight for the community.  My goal is to ensure critical volunteers and paid staff are appropriately supported. Having served eight years on the Foothills Fire Protection District Board, I have the experience and insight necessary to support the success of a combination paid/volunteer department. 

John Putt

John has lived in Evergreen since December 1967. The owner of Windermere Real Estate Services, John also served 35 years as a resident paramedic and firefighter, volunteering on the Alpine Rescue Team, the Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department, and the Evergreen Volunteer Ambulance Service. In 2017, he became co-leader of the Upper Bear Creek Wildfire Community Wildfire Improvement Plan Unit to organize grant funding for neighborhood fire mitigation.

“The EFR 2020 Wildfire Risk Assessment pointed out that 100 percent of Evergreen’s evacuation routes have portions of non-survivable roadway. The importance of starting to make our evacuation routes survivable cannot be overstated,” John says. “And we are losing firefighters because they have been mistreated. We need to build an environment of trust between the volunteer firefighters and the board of directors to improve firefighter retention and ensure they are fully supported to respond to emergency calls.”

A new vision that improves the safety of our community and supports our critical volunteers firefighters.

Three community leaders joined together for candidacy on a platform of shared care and community organization. This revitalized and action-oriented philosophy includes:

Strengthening the health and responsiveness of our volunteer fire department by:

  • Providing balanced operational and capital budgeting
  • Ensuring volunteer particiption at all levels of the department
  • Promoting joint decision-making

Ensuring a more prepared department and wildfire ready community by:

  • Prioritizing expenditures to support more wildland fire training for volunteers.
  • Implementing Evergreen Fire/Rescue’s 2020 Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) objectives
  • Aggressively pursuing wildfire preparedness and evacuation route mitigation grant opportunities
  • Developing and maintaining working relationships with other districts, external wildfire resources and community leaders

Increasing transparency and improving communications with the Evergreen Community by:

  • Publishing all finance and board documents, including all board-level monthly reports and audio board meeting recordings
  • Providing an open and responsive board that encourages community involvement and increases community involvement

Providing a taxpayer-centered fiduciary voice to:

  • Ensuring all funding decisions are balanced to meet short- and long-term needs of the fire department and greater Evergreen community

Proven success—already working for you!

Eighty percent of Evergreen residents live in neighborhoods that are considered high to extremely-high for wildfire risk. According to the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce, Evergreen is on the top 10 list nationally for catastrophic wildfire with the potential for significant loss of life.

Given our risk, these candidates have been spearheading a group of five mountain area neighborhoods, including Soda Creek, Old Squaw Pass, Echo Hills, Witter Gulch and Upper Bear Creek, developing plans to help our community understand, organize and begin mitigating wildfire risk. Realizing EFPD has limited resources and cannot possibly manage the effort by themselves, the candidates embarked on a plan to engage volunteers in the community. Then, drafted a plan and were awarded a grant through the Colorado Department of Natural Resources valued at $295,000 (25 work crew weeks) for mitigation of 14.5 miles (102 acres) of critical evacuation routes designated as high priority by the 2020 Evergreen Fire/Rescue (EFR) Community Wildfire Protection Implementation Plans (CWPIP). This is the largest grant award for wildfire mitigation in Evergreen to date.

“With all the billions of federal dollars recently allocated to wildfire mitigation efforts, we need to ensure we’re ready and able to capitalize on those grant funds to bring wildfire preparedness to every corner of our community,” says Julie Ann.

All three candidates are committed to maintaining the health and viability of our volunteer fire department and will ensure a more prepared department for the risks facing our community. Help protect our Evergreen community! Please make sure you vote on May 3 at the Bergen Park Fire Station.

Paid for by Ballinger, Courim, and Putt