Great Bend Fire Department firefighter Travis Parmley has really climbed the ladder, so to speak. The eight-year GBFD veteran was promoted to captain in May.
“My dad was a volunteer firefighter,” he said. “I just grew up around firefighters and EMTs.”
Born and raised in the small Marion County community of Florence, it was the thing to do. “We all looked up to and respected the fire department,” he said.
So, when he could, the full-time diesel mechanic became a part-time fireman.
Then, in 2004, the opportunity to make fighting fires a career in Great Bend came knocking. Parmley answered the call.
“It was a big-city move for us,” he said. Coming from Florence, population of 465, Great Bend was a change.
Parmley came to Great Bend with his volunteer experience and his emergency medical technician training. Since his arrival, he has become a paramedic, and trained for the elite Technical Rescue Team and for scuba driving.
In 2010, he was named GBFD Firefighter of the Year. He also serves on the fire truck committee which is in the process of selecting the options for a new pumper truck that will be delivered in October.
“He’s risen through the ranks and he’ll be a good captain,” Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said. In that capacity, he manages the firefighters on his shift and directs them at a fire scene.
Great Bend’s department has 24 firefighters. Eight are on duty at one time, firefighters and EMTs combined, during each of the three shifts.
“We’re a small department,” Napolitano said. “We require a lot from our people.”
But, with the acquisition of the new truck and the advanced training, “We’re trying to be progressive with new procedures out in the field,” the chief said.
“We’re very busy,” Parmley said. But, “it’s very humbling” helping save structures and people.
He married his wife Andrea shortly after moving to Great Bend. She works as an administrative assistant with Hazmat Response in Great Bend.
They share their home with their dog.