Photographing good news: CSFD’s Promotion Ceremony

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One of the joys of being a community photojournalist is photographing good news that connects with me personally.

This week I attended the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s Promotional Ceremony. The ceremony was a good news story and, as far as I could tell, I was the only “professional media” in attendance — which makes me happy because I get to tell a story that no one has heard yet.

Newly promoted officers of the Colorado Springs Fire Department gather together afterwards for a group picture. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Newly promoted officers of the Colorado Springs Fire Department gather together afterwards for a group picture.

Eight years after the recession and a round of layoffs, the CSFD is growing with its community again. With this promotional ceremony the fire department added a fourth battalion, a first for the city. 

"A fourth battalion allows us to have a better span of control," explained Captain Steve Oswald. "Our chiefs are able get to a scene more quickly and it allows us to have better safety for our firefighters." 

Ultimately, says Oswald, it allows the department to provide better service to the community.

At the ceremony, the department promoted 10 officers — three battalion chiefs, three captains, three lieutenants and one driver-engineer. 

New Battalion Chiefs, from left, Jesse Kruckeberg, Justin White and Kevin Bird are sworn in during the Colorado Springs Fire Department's promotional ceremony Tuesday. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • New Battalion Chiefs, from left, Jesse Kruckeberg, Justin White and Kevin Bird are sworn in during the Colorado Springs Fire Department's promotional ceremony Tuesday.

On a personal level I got to see my friend Jesse Kruckeberg promoted to Battalion Chief. I’ve known Jesse for 25 years. We both attended Colorado College, joined the same fraternity (Kappa Sigma) and roomed in the same dorm for two years.

Battalion Chief Jesse Kruckeberg with daughter Zadie, 6, and son Ethan, 2, after the Colorado Springs Fire Department's promotional ceremony Tuesday. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Battalion Chief Jesse Kruckeberg with daughter Zadie, 6, and son Ethan, 2, after the Colorado Springs Fire Department's promotional ceremony Tuesday.

Chief Kruckeberg started his career as a firefighter in 1997 about the same time I began my career as a photojournalist.

Over the years we’ve reconnected with each other, even crossed paths at the historic fire at the Giuseppe's Old Depot Restaurant in 1999. Today we live down the street from one another. His three children Bo, 8, Zadie 6, and Ethan, 2, are close in age with my children and they are fast friends having attended school together.

Two years ago I photographed Jesse, his wife Jenny and their children, from left, Bo, Ethan and Zadie, on a school field trip to Mueller State Park. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Two years ago I photographed Jesse, his wife Jenny and their children, from left, Bo, Ethan and Zadie, on a school field trip to Mueller State Park.

As a news photographer with the Denver Post, I photographed Jesse Kruckeberg during the Giuseppe's Old Depot Restaurant fire in 1999. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • As a news photographer with the Denver Post, I photographed Jesse Kruckeberg during the Giuseppe's Old Depot Restaurant fire in 1999.

So it was with great joy that I was able to attend and photograph this historic event for the fire department, the City of Colorado Springs and for my friend Jesse.

It seems like good news is so hard to come by nowadays. But what’s so much fun about my job is that when good news does happen here I get to share that story.

Battalion Chief Jesse Kruckeberg playing with his son Ethan, 2, after the Colorado Springs Fire Department's promotional ceremony Tuesday. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Battalion Chief Jesse Kruckeberg playing with his son Ethan, 2, after the Colorado Springs Fire Department's promotional ceremony Tuesday.


Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the
Colorado Springs Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image - no more than two a week, please - to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

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