If you wonder why Mike Beaty is the Courier's August Left Hand Laurel, read the inscriptions of the numerous plaques on the wall of the Boulder Rural Fire Protection District (BRFD). The engraved commendations are testimonials to Mike's dedication to serving the department and our community. In 1994 and 1995, Mike was presented the Chris Anderson Award, given annually in memory of fellow firefighter Chris Anderson, to a member who best exemplifies a positive attitude and teamwork. In 1995 Mike was Firefighter of the Year and in 1996 Member of the Year. In 1996 and in 1998, he was Officer of the Year. In 1998, Mike responded on 258 calls, more than anyone else in the department.
Mike has been with BRFD since October 1992, and he has been assistant fire chief since January 1996. He has served in the roles of engineer, medical car trainer/facilitator, emergency medical technician (EMT), personnel officer, instructor, and firefighter.
Fire Chief Bruce Mygatt said, "Mike is an important part of our management team. We are fortunate to have his expertise as a valuable volunteer. Mike is a dedicated and loyal volunteer serving the customers within the district. As assistant chief, Mike has done an outstanding job in dealing with all the personnel matters within our department."
Growing up in Gunbarrel, he attended Platt Junior High and Boulder High School. He went on to earn a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University where he met his wife, Maureen. He received his masters from Purdue University, also in mechanical engineering.
Maureen and Mike have been married 14 years. She is a chemical engineer, and works at Maxtor in Longmont.
Mike's previous volunteer jobs include working for an ambulance service in Indiana farm country when he was a graduate student. He has served on corporate emergency response teams for various companies. Also, he has volunteered in other fire departments; four years at the Wescott Fire Protection District in Colorado Springs, and five years at the Cherryvale Fire Protection District in Boulder.
Since 1987, Mike has volunteered for the National Ski Patrol on winter weekends at Ski Cooper, outside of Leadville. He volunteers with his church, St. Mary Magdalene, making name tags for parishioners and fixing up a car that had been donated to the church to sell.
In January 1997, Mike and Maureen made the decision that he would quit his job to become a stay-at-home dad. Maureen had spent the first years at home with their two boys, Matt (9) and Mark (6). When a great job opportunity opened for her, they decided that it was time to switch roles. Having previously toyed with the idea, Mike jumped at the opportunity,
"My kids are only young once. I'm only going to be able to do this once in my life," Mike said.
Just like any other stay-at-home parent, Mike totes his boys to swim lessons and Cub Scouts. He helps coach his son Mark's soccer team. Maureen is the official coach, but Mike stepped in when she has to travel. He does the housework, the cleaning, cooking, and laundry. When he has time, he enjoys woodworking and bike riding.
Mike also gets involved in his boy's activities. He volunteers in the classroom and computer lab at their school, Douglass Elementary. He is aware that he is unique in this job, with only two men out of about a hundred women volunteering at the school. The other man is in his 70s.
Mike and Maureen Beaty's arrangement not only works well for them and gives their sons priceless time with their dad; it also allows Mike to contribute his time and talents to our community.
According to Mike, "Giving back to the community as a volunteer provides a good example for my sons." It is because of these countless hours of giving that Mike Beaty is August's Left Hand Laurel.