COM grads on duty at Galveston Fire Department

From left, Battalion Chief Gary Staudt, Battalion Chief Tim Johnson, Battalion Chief Thomas Winn, Battalion Chief Chris Harrison, Assistant Chief Charles Olsen, Fire Chief Mike Wisko and Battalion Chief Andy Bowen.

Five new battalion chiefs of the Galveston Fire Department are ready for the call of duty – and four are College of the Mainland graduates. 

Mel Rourke and COM graduates Gary Staudt, Andy Bowen, Chris Harrison, Tim Johnson were recently promoted to battalion chief.

A 25-year veteran of the Galveston Fire Department, Staudt, chief of Battalion 1 – A shift, graduated from the COM Fire Academy in 1989 and with an associate degree from COM in 1992. He later earned a bachelor’s in industrial health and safety and a master’s in environmental science.

“The best thing about (my job) is helping the captains I work with do they best they can and have a passion for it like I do,” said Staudt. “It’s not really a job if you enjoy it.”
 
Andy Bowen, chief of Battalion 1 – B Shift, graduated from College of the Mainland with an Associate of Applied Science in fire technology.
 
Chris Harrison, chief of Battalion 4 – C Shift, graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in fire technology with honors. A former member of the U.S. Army reserves and the Texas Air National Guard,  Harrison has served with the Galveston Fire Department for 15 years.

“When (people) call 911, they’re having the worst day of their life, and they expect us to bring order from chaos,” said Harrison.

Tim Johnson, chief of Battalion 4 – A Shift, completed the COM fire academy and later earned an associate degree from COM, a bachelor’s degree from University of Houston-Clear Lake and a master’s in public service leadership. In addition to working for the Galveston Fire Department, he is assistant fire chief in Dickinson and an adjunct instructor at the COM Fire Academy.
 
“Every day you get to see (people) on their worst day,” said Johnson. “You’ve got to figure out how to make their day better, from the mother who locks her three kids in the vehicle to the person who gets in a car accident. You get to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

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