John Bales, President

John Bales served 18 years as the fire chief for the City of Golden Fire Department until his retirement in October 2018.  He served a total of 50 years in the fire service beginning in 1968 as a volunteer firefighter with the Wichita Kansas Fire Department before moving to Colorado in 1974.  John is a second generation firefighter and his son, Captain Steve Bales of the Denver Fire Department, is a third generation firefighter.

John has served as Past President of both the Colorado Fire Training Officers Association and the Denver Metro Fire Chiefs Association.  He was the Colorado State Director for the Missouri Valley Fire Chiefs Association.  He has served as an adjunct instructor for the National Fire Academy teaching coursework in firefighter safety and survival.  He became a member of the Colorado Fallen Firefighters Foundation in 2018 working to honor all of those firefighters who have and will make the supreme sacrifice.

 QualmanDan Dan H. Qualman, Secretary

Dan Qualman has served as the fire chief of South Metro Fire Rescue Authority since 2008.  Prior to that appointment he served as the fire chief of Parker Fire Protection district from 1986.  A native of Toledo, Ohio, he went to college in Arkansas, worked in the avionics industry in Kansas until his career change to the fire service in 1978.  He served with the Leawood (KS) Fire Department for 5 years before moving to Parker, Colorado. Dan and his family moved to Colorado in 1983 to accept the position of Assistant Chief for Parker Fire Protection District. He became fire chief in 1986 until 2008 when Parker FPD and SMFR consolidated into an Authority.

Dan Qualman has been a member of the Colorado Fallen Firefighters Foundation since its inception except for a short time in the early 2000’s.  He joined the small group in 1989 after being invited to do so by Chief James Etzel of Castlewood Fire Protection District.  The purpose of the small group was to create a memorial that would recognize all firefighters serving their communities within the State of Colorado, wildland or structural firefighters, volunteer or career, or union or non-union affiliation. After serving many hot dogs and pancakes in order to raise funds to build the memorial, in 2000 the group saw the fruition of the many years of planning when the Memorial was finally dedicated. After a couple years absence he rejoined the Foundation and currently serves as secretary.

 Cathy Teter, Treasurer

Cathy is the Director of Compliance and Human Resources for Northglenn Ambulance which is a Colorado non-profit, private ambulance service.  She has been in EMS since she first received her EMT in 1991.   She started as a volunteer with Northglenn Ambulance in 1996.  After 3 years as an EMT, she became a Paramedic in 1999, then worked her way through the ranks from field training officer to a role as a Director with Northglenn Ambulance.

Cathy’s family has a long history in the fire service and she spent 5 years as a volunteer firefighter.  She has spent several years increasing her proficiency in fire related issues, focusing on mass casualty and incident command practices. In 2001, she turned her role of safety officer into a position responsible for all compliance related issues.  In 2017, Cathy attended the Building Warriors PEER Support Academy and is the current PEER Support Coordinator for Northglenn Ambulance. She works with the North Area PEER Support Team assisting other agency members and their families when needed.

Cathy is a Colorado native who enjoys spending time with family, friends, attending baseball games and when time allows gets out to Colorado’s beautiful lakes and paddleboards.   She lives in Commerce City with her husband Ricky a Denver firefighter and their 2 sons, Todd and Aharon.


ChiefRhodes2008 Jerry Rhodes, Board Member

Jerry, a Denver native, wanted to be a firefighter since junior high school.   He has responded to emergency scenes with different groups on a regular basis since 1970s.

He started with the Glendale Fire Dept. in 1974 as a volunteer firefighter.  He worked through the ranks and left Glendale in 1990 as the Asst. Chief.   He moved to Cunningham FPD as the Div. Chief of Training and was appointed to Fire Chief in 1995. In 2018 Cunningham unified with South Metro Fire Rescue and Jerry became the Division Chief of Community Services.

He loves his family and his extended Fire Service Family.  He enjoys teaching firefighter and EMS personnel and serves on multiple boards and committees at a regional, state, and national level including the Board of Directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

He feels honored to serve on the Colorado Fallen Firefighters Foundation Board and to have the opportunity to execute the foundation’s mission to honor our fallen, support their family, and prevent future line of duty deaths.

  Mark Carlson, Vice President

Mark Carlson is President of T. Charles Insurance Service and is considered one of the leading authorities on insurance for fire districts.

Mark holds the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Certified Risk Manager (CRM), and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designations.

The CPCU designation is the most prestigious insurance designation in the insurance industry that gives individuals a strong foundation in risk management of property and casualty exposures.

A native of Colorado, Mark graduated from Santa Clara University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.   Mark began his career with SAFECO Insurance Company in 1994, left SAFECO for Travelers where he ran a $100,000,000 revenue regional sales department.  He joined T. Charles Wilson Insurance Service in 2004 and became President of the organization in 2009.

Mark is very active within fire community and currently servers on the Governor’s Fire Service Training and Certification Advisory Board..  He and T. Charles Wilson Insurance Service are active in the Colorado State Fire Chiefs Association.

  J. Paul Russell, Board Member

Currently Works for Colorado Springs Fire Department in the Division of the Fire Marshal. He has over 32 years of combined full time, paid reserve and volunteer experience within the fire service. Has served in the positions of firefighter, fire safety/public educator, fire inspector, fire prevention officer/fire investigator, and deputy fire marshal. As well as a chaplain. He has attended the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Academy and the National Fire Academy’s fire/arson training. He is a certified fire and explosions investigator CFEI through the National Association of Fire Investigators NAFI. Additional training includes interpersonal skills, problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, CISM, EMDR, basic fire chaplain certification and fire families training through the Federation of Fire Chaplains. National Fallen Firefighter taking care of our own—preparing for LODD. Paul Is the co-founder of Colorado State Chaplains Association CSCA founded in November 2000 and founder/President of Emergency Services Ministries (ESM), a resource to several fire and law enforcement agencies. He is also serves as Vice President on the Colorado Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

   Mike Weege, Board Member

Fire Chief, Evergreen Fire Rescue.  Mike’s home town is Green Bay, Wisconsin.  He received a BS from the University of Wisconsin – Stout in Product Development.  Spent his career as a Mechanical Engineer designing electronic test equipment, underground mining equipment, airport runway snow removal equipment and robotic packaging equipment.

Moved to Denver in 1993 and to Evergreen in 1999, joining Evergreen Fire Rescue in 2001.  Hired as the Fire Chief in 2012.

 Bert Brooks, Board Member
Bert Brooks is an Engineer for the Arvada Fire Protection District.  He is the Honor Guard Commander, serving with the Arvada’s Honor Guard Since 2000. 

In 2014, he took over as the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Honor Guard Commander, leading the Honor Guard for the Colorado Fallen Firefighter Memorial. He wanted to get more involved with the Memorial and try to make some positive changes in the ceremony. He then started attending the board meetings the beginning of 2018, and in the Fall of the same year he was asked to join the Board which he accepted. His passion and purpose are to Honor the Fallen and their families. He is always thinking of ways to support the mission, in everyday life and with Memorial ceremony. Being a current line firefighter and an Honor Guard member brings a good prospective to the Board.

 Rob Jones, Board Member

Rob Jones has been in the fire service for 20 years, starting his career as a volunteer to the Chief of the department. Rob is married has two children and a grandson.

Rob has served on the board since 2010, and is actively involved in the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation as a Family Escort where he has volunteered 10 years.

Rob is currently working on his Master degree and is actively involved in the Colorado fire service. Rob serve as State Coordinator for the Local Assistant State Team (LAST) through the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation. Assisting departments in need, who suffer a death in the organization whether it’s a LODD , Cancer, or off duty.

Kirk-smallerfilepicter Kirk Freedle, Past President

Kirk Freedle has been a board member of the Colorado Fallen Fighters Foundation since October of 2010.

Kirk is a Chartered Financial Consultant, an advanced degree in financial planning issued by the American College, located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.  He has been assisting fire fighters, municipalities, individuals and businesses with their investment and financial planning since 1994. He earned his undergraduate degree in finance from Colorado State University. Kirk is a third generation Colorado native who enjoys coaching soccer, fly fishing, skiing, and golf. He lives in Brighton Colorado with his wife Tiffany and his daughters Skylar and Addison.

Full List of Board Members
John Bales
Kirk Freedle
Cathy Teter
Mark Carlson
Rob Jones
Dan Qualman
Jerry Rhodes
Paul Russell
Mike Weege
Don Lombardi
Lloyd See
Vikki Seela
Mike Morgan
Bert Brooks
Brian Achziger

Founding Board Members
Don Reichel
James Etzel
Ken Ranson
Shirley Keller
Viki and Dennis
Vikki Seela

Historical Board Members
Ashley Austin
Christina Griggs
Bryan Martin
Bill Guindon
Bob Brown
Craig Sellers
Dean Smith
Deb Unruh
Doug Lee
Doug McBee
George Goldbach
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Johnson
Jewel Berkey
Jessica Norris
Joe Ashby
John Bliven
Julie Davis Ratner
Katie Baumann
Ken Rice
Ken Westlund
Kirk Freedle
Larry Petersen
Linda Glesne
Mark Davis
Rachael Nelson
Phil Workman
Rob Appelhanz
Rob Jones
Ron Weidmann
Sheryl West
Tom Farber
Dennis Murphy