One of the goals of PFFN is to put a face to the amazing men and women that serve our community every day. We want to help you get to know your Nevada firefighters and uncover a bit of what they are like once the turnouts come off. Each week we will post a new #FirefighterFriday feature right here and invite you to check them out often. You can also find them on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels!
We hope you enjoy getting to know some of Nevada’s greatest firefighters!
Meet Northern Nevada native and Reno resident, Ryan Whitlock!
Ryan has always enjoyed being a part of something bigger than himself. Growing up in a large family, he quickly realized two things:
1) You take care of each other
2) Amongst all the chaos, you’re always helping or being helped. Becoming a firefighter came naturally.
Ryan began his career with the U.S. Air force in 2002 and served four years as a firefighter. He was hired on full-time in 2006 and has worked in Northern Nevada ever since. He currently serves as a captain and paramedic with Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue.
Along with his duties as a captain, Ryan represents Truckee Meadows Fire Local 2487 as secretary and is one of the Northern Nevada District VPs for PFFN. He’s also a member of the Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue Hazardous Materials Team and a member of the Swift Water Rescue Team. Ryan is also part of the Workman Compensation Committee, Grievance Committee, and the Best Practice Committee for Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue.
Here’s more you need to know:
“As each day and comes and goes, I am grateful for the moments I’ve been able to be a part of. But the proudest times in my career have been working alongside my brother Cory, Truck Captain for Fire Station 1 in Downtown LV. I am grateful and humbled every day for his perspective and daily talks.
I want our community to know I have yet to meet a firefighter that needed to be trained on how to help people. It’s in their DNA and they will act without reservation no matter what. Firefighters are an amazing group of people that are able to adapt and overcome any challenge put in front of them.
When I’m not working, you may find me riding my dirt bike, hunting, fishing, or spending time with my beautiful wife Aleise and children, Gage, Abby and Reese.”
- The Fox and the Hound always makes me cry
- I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot when I was a kid
- I need seasons &change
- I’m still looking for the ideal vacation spot
- I’m working on perfecting a recipe for “The 44 burger”, a complicated palate pleasure
- I can’t live without steak or eggs
Meet Bill Gardner! He’s been a firefighter for 13 years and currently serves as PFFN’s Southern District Vice President representing North Las Vegas Local 1609, Boulder City Local 5073, Mt. Charleston Local 4621, and Pahrump Valley Local 4608. Bill is married to his wife Kristin and they have 9-year-old twins, Finley and Liam.
“Growing up in suburban NY, I spent a lot of time at the volunteer firehouse where my grandfather and great-uncle were members. When I returned home after graduating college I began volunteering at my local department and decided to try to make a career of it. After working jobs first in a trade, and later in an office setting, the unplanned nature of our work in the fire service appealed to me.
My proudest moment as a firefighter was my Academy Graduation. The job is VERY rewarding, but its physicality can wear down your body, and sleep deprivation can take a toll on your attitude and interactions with others.”
- Revenge of the Nerds always makes me cry. The Tri Lambs winning the Greek Carnival gets me every time.
- My special talent is making cheap beer disappear
- When I was a kid, I wanted to be a professional wrestler
- I prefer snow over the ocean
- My favorite vacation spot is a theme park with rides
- I am famous for my Billyburgers and Nelly Frittatas
- We have two rescue Australian Cattle dogs. One was born deaf and knows sign language, the other will bark if a shadow passes over the house.
- I can’t live without Kirkland Natural Peanut Butter
- I grew up playing drums and play the snare drum in the Honor Guard Pipe Band. I have won gold and silver medals at the World Police/Fire games and was disappointed to find that there was no chocolate inside them.
Meet Tom Dunn! To say this guy wears many hats would be an understatement. Tom serves as the district vice president for Reno and a lobbyist/government affairs liaison for the PFFN. He’s been a firefighter for 21 years and is currently a firefighter and rescue technician for the Reno Fire Department. He’s certified nationally as a planning section chief and has multiple assignments to all-risk incidents including wildland fires and Hurricanes Katrina and Maria. Tom also served as the vice president for Reno Firefighters Local 731 and works closely with committees that deal with occupational health and safety, insurance and workers comp.
“I became a firefighter to support my girlfriend at the time who was testing. I passed and she didn’t. Being a firefighter is an incredibly rewarding job because you can give back to your community on so many levels. When someone calls 911, we bring order to the chaos that could be their worst day.
Some of my proudest moments include getting workers comp cancer presumption coverage expanded to include female firefighters and PTSD coverage expanded for public safety personnel during the 2019 Legislative Session. I also completed my national certification as a Type 1 Planning Section Chief.”
- The movie Saving Private Ryan always makes me cry.
- I wanted to be a fighter pilot for the USAF when I was a kid.
- Send me to ski in Tahoe, and to Costa Rica and Hawaii for the ocean.
- I’ll vacation anywhere with trees, camping and hiking in National Parks.
- I’m a Jack of all trades in the kitchen, can BBQ and make homemade spaghetti sauce.
- I have a dog and a cat. My cat was rescued by me from a storm drain.
- I can’t live without Bacon
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’re no stranger to Cory Whitlock. He’s has been repping our community as a professional firefighter for 14 years. He lives in Vegas with his wife Savannah, is a Truck Captain in Fire Station 1, serves as PFFN’s southern district VP, and is currently rockin’ a mean stache.
“I’ve always been a problem solver and a helper. I come from a big family that taught me to help those in need and to be part of the solution, not the problem. That is why I love the fire service. In the most critical time, we get to solve problems and help those in need. I love the challenge of getting called out to a unique emergency, especially knowing the end-result is helping people. I am fortunate to have found such a fulfilling occupation alongside some of the most talented men and women in our community. My older brother is actually a fire captain at Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue up north. He is a source of inspiration and keeps me grounded. I have a special spot in my heart for Downtown Las Vegas fire station 1. The energy it brings, along with seeing visitors from all over the world enjoy our city, is something that can’t be beaten.
My proudest moment as a firefighter was responding to Route 91 Harvest shooting. I saw a type of humanity, love, and unity I haven’t seen before. Our community was so impressive and their bravery during that dark time was astonishing. As firefighters, we focus on people, regardless of their race, creed, skin color, gender, or political ideologies. We will always answer the call and will always be there for you.”
- I am also a Physician Assistant. I attended and received my degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine and practice locally.
- Before I was a firefighter, I wanted to be a Velociraptor
- I grew up in North Lake Tahoe; bring on the snow!
- My favorite vacay spot is McCall Idaho
- Tri-Tip with vegetable medley is my specialty
- I have three dogs
- I can’t live without egg whites (I know, pretty sad)
Meet Ryan Green! He’s been serving as a firefighter for 18 years and is currently a firefighter for the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority and PFFN’s Secretary-Treasurer.
“I became a firefighter because I wanted to help people. I also needed a job that was never the same. Something different every day. It’s gratifying to work in a team environment and make a difference in people’s lives. I have a beautiful wife and we have 2 kids. 1 Girl (16) and 1 Boy (14)
My proudest moment as a firefighter was back-to-back codes saves. My partner and I literally went on two incidents in a row where the person was dead when we arrived. We revived them, and they were alive when we arrived at the hospital. We made a difference that day. What I want people to know about being a firefighter is it is really fun and extremely gratifying. You will have days when you feel like you won the Super Bowl. You will also see things that were once unimaginable. You must learn to care for yourself both mentally and physically. The job takes a toll on you. You need to be satisfied taking years from your life to improve or save the life of others.”
- The movie 8 Seconds always makes me cry
- I’m a hoot at parties
- When I was a kid, I wanted to be a martial arts star
- I love the mountains
- My favorite place to vacay is Ely, Nevada
- You have to try my Green Burgers: Brioche bun, spicy hamburger patty, buffalo wing sauce, pepper medley, bleu cheese, and honey!
- I’ve always had a dog, but my cat has grown on me
- I can’t live without ice cream
- I may seem really cool but I’m actually a nerd
You may know Todd as a fire captain with the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Department or President of PFFN, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye.
“I grew up down the street from a fire station and my grandmother always volunteered there, either cooking, cleaning, or doing whatever they needed. I loved the culture and after 10 years in the casino business, I tested and got on and haven’t looked back since. I’m married to my lovely “baby momma” Chelsea, and together we have four beautiful kids: Brielle (16), Braxton (5), Braelyn (3), and Sloane (1).
Here are a few fun facts. Use them wisely!
- Gladiator and Remember the Titans always make me cry
- My party trick is endless talking and entertainment
- When I was little, I wanted to be a professional athlete or a sports agent.
- I prefer the ocean over snow
- My favorite vacation spot is the Caribbean, or anywhere with warm, clear water
- I don’t cook at the station anymore (luckily for the crew) but I will make chocolate chip cookies
- I’m a dog person
- I don’t think I could live without pizza