Answering the Call to Fire Service
Growing up with parents in the medical field, Bryce Stutler knew early on that his calling would be similar. From a young age, he envisioned working as an emergency room nurse. Although his path would pivot along the way, he never wavered from his desire to help people in their darkest days.
Bryce graduated from Rock Canyon High School in 2014 and grew up on Cerney Circle in the City of Castle Pines HOA2 subdivision – a neighborhood known for tight-knit neighbors and plenty of kids. “It was a blast,” said Bryce, as he recalled playing football in the snow with friends, jumping off of the roof during the blizzard of 2003, and roasting marshmallows with the older couple known as the “grandparents” of the block who lived a few houses away. “It was awesome. The neighborhood was very close,” he added.
Sports were a central part of Bryce’s life with baseball ultimately becoming his mainstay during high school. It was on the diamond that his friendships flourished, with many of the boys resurrecting the legendary Golden Boys spirit group that had originally started with a friend’s older brother. “We wore our black and gold overalls and bucket hats and were the unofficial male cheerleaders of Rock Canyon,” he smiled.
During junior year of high school, the boys and the girls merged. That is, Bryce’s friend group and a group of girls started spending time together. By senior year, they were inseparable. That Valentine’s Day, a fun day on the ski slopes turned serious when one of the boys, Andrew, took a nasty spill. Bryce made the call to his friend’s parents and headed to the hospital behind the ambulance, along with one of the girls – Grace Buckley.
With the highway closed due to a storm, and his friend’s parents unable to get there, Bryce and Grace stayed at the hospital overnight with their friend – who would thankfully recover. It was an experience that helped cement Bryce’s career calling and his future with Grace.
After high school, Bryce attended the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus to complete prerequisites before his plan to transfer to the Denver campus which offered a nursing degree. However, during the summer after his freshman year, Bryce attended an emergency medical technician (EMT) class where he was able to take part in a ride along with the fire department. “It was so cool; it was an entirely different experience. I saw these best friends in a work atmosphere, and it really grabbed me,” he said.
While continuing to take classes, Bryce spent three years volunteering with Franktown Fire Protection District. While there, he was hired in his first career position as firefighter and EMT for Fort Lupton Fire Protection District where he worked until moving to Brighton Fire Rescue District this past July. With his clear path in fire service, he has migrated toward a degree in Fire and Emergency Services Administration, for which he is only about 17 credits shy – important for the long term should he want to pursue becoming a lieutenant or captain. Through Brighton Fire, he plans to pursue paramedic school, which would enable him to provide advanced life support, more complex interventions and administer life-saving medications as well as complete the remaining classes he needs to graduate.
“When people call 911, they are having a bad day. I have the unique ability to affect people’s lives in a positive light in a dark time,” he said offering his desire to provide compassion, respect and humility for people for whom he will most likely never see again.
As for his love story, Bryce married Grace last September with his best friend and best man, Andrew, by his side. The couple live in Crystal Valley in Castle Rock with their beloved and very spoiled yellow Labrador retriever, Gus. They recently returned from an overdue honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. “He [Andrew] really put his body on the line to help start our relationship,” smiled Bryce, adding that the experience certainly gives a little flair to his and Grace’s story.
By Elean Gersack; photo courtesy of Bryce Stutler