News By Tag
News By Place
Michaels Jewelers Employee Fought Colorado Wildfires For 19 Days
Middletown, Conn. resident John Kloc, a lieutenant with the Westfield Fire Department, and the shipping and maintenance coordinator for Michaels Jewelers' 21 stores nationwide, recently returned from fighting two massive wildfires in Colorado.
By: Michaels Jewelers
"John's admirably courageous and selfless contributions,"
A volunteer firefighter since 26, John Kloc, 31, is a lieutenant in Middletown's Westfield station and a proud member of CIFC - Connecticut Interstate Fire Crew. CIFC consists of firefighters who received certified Red Cards through DEEP Training to become wildland firefighters. "There are Federal Training Guidelines to obtain a Red Card," explained Kloc. "I received my Red Card in March of 2018 after taking a 4-day class through a CT DEEP training program. After that training, I was placed on an eligible availability list to fight fires as needed across the United States."
As Michaels Jewelers Shipping & Maintenance Coordinator at their Prospect headquarters, the full-time position demands his attention to all 21 Michaels and PANDORA stores nationwide. "Most working people cannot take off 19 days to fight fires," he acknowledged, "but Michaels generously afforded me the time to do exactly that. Literally, I got the call to go to Colorado on Thursday morning and deployed Friday morning with Michaels' approval and well wishes.
"This deployment with dozens of other Connecticut firefighters was new for me. It has always been something I deeply wanted to do and Michaels not only allowed me the 4 days of required training, they gratefully approved of my 19-day service to help all the residents, businesses, and medical facilities hit by devastating fires across Colorado."
Kloc recalled that the Connecticut CIFC crew was originally deployed to the first fire, Buttermilk, a 748-acre fire, for one week. After that fire was contained, they were sent to a fire started by a lightning strike that spread across 75 acres. "It was fast moving, so our first need was to set up a containment line, and we were at that Green Mountain fire for five full days."
When asked how he found himself in Colorado, Kloc explained that "The U.S. Forest Service oversees all of the nation's firefighting needs and maintain a roster of firefighting crews nationwide who have reached a certain level of preparedness. First, they seek those resources within or close to the state where a fire is taking place, whether it is in California, Colorado, Utah or Oregon which have all experienced a very, very bad fire season this year.
"Once the U.S. Forest Service has deployed all the firefighters they can from a regional territory, they contact crews nationwide. For the first Colorado fire, they requested assistance from East Coast firefighting crews from Maine down the coast to Pennsylvania and Virginia."
In 2013, Kloc began his firefighting career with the Long Hill FD in Trumbull. In 2015, he transferred to the Westfield FD, and in January 2018 he was named lieutenant and today leads 50 volunteer firefighters. "The Westfield FD volunteers,"
John Kloc began his career with the family-owned Michaels Jewelers in December 2014. His tasks "started small with 5 to 6 responsibilities,"
"My responsibilities across the country range from changing light bulbs to undertaking extensive flooring and painting renovations and upgrades of our headquarter offices. As a handyman, former construction worker and Home Depot employee, no job is too large or small to take on."
John Kloc single-handedly maintains, or coordinates maintenance with the hiring of contractors, for all the physical operations of the 21 Michaels and PANDORA stores nationwide. "Anything that may need to be installed or fixed, I either handle myself or coordinate the contracting of construction and installation companies in the various markets across the country."
Michaels Jewelers has 10 locations across Connecticut, plus their PANDORA franchise locations, Michaels Jewelers is Connecticut's leading retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry. This family-run business was founded in 1885 by Abraham L. Michaels and is managed today by the fourth and fifth generations of family members.
To learn more, visit http://www.michaelsjewelers.com.