Red, White & Blue bids farewell to board President Arch Gothard
BRECKENRIDGE — The Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District is saying goodbye to one of its longest-serving members.
During the district’s monthly board meeting in May, Arch Gothard officially ended his 17-year journey with the district, including serving as the board’s president for the past six years. Officials said Gothard was invaluable during his time with the district and provided a steady hand in helping to guide the agency to where it is today.
“You couldn’t ask for a stronger supporter of the district,” Red, White & Blue Chief Jim Keating said. “He was a person that didn’t really observe from the outside. He dug in and was really able to support our needs in every way. … I have a 45-year career in public service and have worked under many boards, but I have never served with someone like Arch who can put politics aside and go about the job of providing the public the most effective and efficient services possible.”
Gothard, 74, was born in Colorado but spent his formative years on a ranch on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma. He went to military school at the New Mexico Military Institute and later went on to earn his bachelor’s degree at Kansas State University and a law degree at the University of Kansas.
After school, Gothard went to work for Arthur Anderson, an accounting firm, where he jumped around for 18 years from Kansas City to New York and eventually to Paris. He left to serve as a chief financial officer for a cable television company, which brought him to Breckenridge in 1994.
He joined the Red, White & Blue board in the early 2000s and has helped in the agency’s evolution ever since.
“Initially, when I joined the Red, White & Blue, everyone joked that they were famous for saving foundations,” Gothard said. “That they didn’t have the equipment, people or response time to be able to save a structure. Obviously, you always have a desire to improve public safety for your community, and it’s a totally different organization now.”
The district saw a number of notable achievements during Gothard’s time on the board, including the final transformation from a part volunteer department to an all staff agency, integrating emergency medical services and the opening of its fourth station on Peak 8.
Perhaps most notably, Red, White & Blue became one of only 11 agencies in the country to receive dual accreditations from the Commission of Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.
“I wanted to get the organization to where it was solvent and to continually upgrade the quality of service provided by the organization,” Gothard said. “Those objectives kept driving me. After we got our certification for the fire and EMS sides of the house, I pretty well achieved those objectives. But it took a while to get there.”
Gothard is leaving due to term limitations and will be replaced on the board by Dr. Randy Nations. Nations is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and he currently operates Mountain Doc Direct Primary Care in Breckenridge.
“Having one individual that has all the experience that Arch has is going to be difficult to replace,” Keating said. “But we’ve got quality members all the way across the board, and Randy is bringing a different and important perspective to us, being an M.D., as we become more involved in evolving our EMS system. That certainly is going to be an asset.”
Gothard said his wife, Cindy Bolt, is also retiring this year after 20 years with the Summit School District. The two live in Breckenridge and operate a ranch in Fairplay.
“I guess we’re both going to have to find something else to do,” Gothard joked. “It’s difficult. I have Red, White & Blue in my blood, and it’s very difficult to leave. … The agency has a wonderful bunch of people, and it was my privilege to be associated with them. They were kind to let me stay there. I’d just have to say I’m grateful.”
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