C&S Wholesale Grocers proudly supports the Student Conservation Association's Veterans Fire Corps, where they harness the skills and leadership of veterans to help prevent and fight wildfires.
Established in 2010 in cooperation with the US Forest Service, the Veterans Fire Corps trains recent-era veterans in community fire protection and fuel reduction methods, and then deploys teams in national forests, parks and refuges. Each training component builds on the prior training, focusing not only on technical aspects, but also on softer skills such as leadership, group dynamics, and conflict management. The Student Conservation Association, a national leader in service and stewardship, developed the initiative to combine its conservation expertise with the needs and skills of veterans from all branches of the armed services who are returning to civilian life.
Although the tools and equipment may be different from their military duty, veterans in the 13-week program are exposed to hazards inherent in fighting wildfires and must rely on their teams to safely accomplish their missions. An additional benefit of the program is that the vets receive certification in firefighting and conservation.
In the 2019 service year, military veterans in the Veterans Fire Corps responded to wildfires in nine different locations. They improved 2,273 acres of park land and managed 2,246 acres of prescribed burns. Veteran Fire Corps members received a combined amount of 81 certifications provided to stop and prevent fires in our National Parks & Forests.
Since 2014, C&S has been investing in the SCA’s Veterans Fire Corps with grants for general operating support, giving 163 veterans a path forward as a Wildland Firefighter. The company has also provided in-kind donations for training sessions held for veterans at the Colorado Fire Camp. Items provided for the veterans included meal staples such as grains, legumes, pasta, coffee and tea.