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Snyder to be new Elko fire chief

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ELKO – Beginning on Christmas Elko’s fire chief will be Jack Snyder, the current deputy chief under Matt Griego, who is retiring on Dec. 24 after 29 years in firefighting and 10 years as Elko chief.

“I’m excited to take the position as fire chief of Elko,” Snyder said. “I am looking forward to the future, and I want to be the best as I can be and provide the best service to the community.”

Elko City Council appointed Snyder as chief after city staff negotiated with him to take the position. Griego had recommended Snyder for the position that oversees 18 career firefighters, 18 volunteer firefighters and a fire marshal. He will also be over a deputy chief when that spot is filled.

“I know you have worked hard to get where you are, and I am confident you will do a good job for the department,” Mayor Reece Keener told Snyder. Councilman Chip Stone said Snyder is a “great person inside and out.”

Snyder said he plans to continue the momentum the “chief started in advances in technology and equipment,” and he wants to be sure the Elko Fire Department is “transparent to the public in all it does.”

He said he is still interested in pursuing paramedic-level services with city leadership. The Elko City Council decided in late April to keep the department at the advanced medical technician level. The department would need to be certified for paramedic services.

“The biggest impact would be to allow them to do advance life-saving measures,” Snyder said.

Elko Ambulance Service provides the bulk of medical services in the city and county, and is certified for paramedic services.

Chief Griego said in August when his retirement was announced that the fire department has grown from 1,000 to 3,000 calls a year, and everyone but one a new hire was an emergency medical technician or paramedic.

The incoming fire chief said his background “is with the military and civilian” firefighting that included air crashes and “getting shot at, but no one incident sticks out.” He did a tour of Afghanistan.

Snyder took the job of deputy chief in Elko five years ago after five years as a firefighter with Vacaville, Calif., after leaving the U.S. Air Force. He spent 11 years on active duty as a firefighter in the military and has been with the reserves and then the Air National Guard for nine years combined.

“I’m at 20 years now,” he said of his military service.

He is a senior master sergeant with the Air National Guard.

While on active duty he was stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, Travis Air Force Base in California, and Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany, as well as Afghanistan.

Snyder is married to Elizabeth, and he describes her as his biggest supporter. They have eight children ranging in age from 3 months old to 15 years old.


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