2012 Corpsmember of the Year: Mike Bremer

“When I returned from Iraq with the Army Infantry, I felt like I lost all meaning and purpose in life and I had trouble finding meaningful work. My Corps experience gave me new purpose and a valuable new skillset. I received incredible training and experience alongside other veterans who had similar experiences – we were all looking for a new life after war.”

In April of 2010, Mike Bremer joined Southwest Conservation Corps’ Veterans Fire Corps after serving in the U.S. Army Infantry. While in the Corps, Mike worked in 3 different districts of the San Juan National Forest and also for the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management completing fuels mitigation projects, pile burning, and area burns. He received high ratings in chainsaw safety training and wildland fire fighting and behavior classes. His exceptional ability with a chainsaw also ensured that he could become the sawyer for his crew, an integral and coveted position, especially for a first year firefighter. Based on his performance and the strong bonds he made with his fellow Corpsmembers, the staff of Southwest Conservation Corps promoted Mike to crew leader the following spring.

Mike later secured a job with the U.S. Forest Service as a wildland firefighter and sawyer for the San Juan National Forest. Mike describes it as “the best job I have ever had.”

Beyond his work as a firefighter, Mike is also an advocate for veteran’s issues and an ambassador for Southwest Conservation Corps’ Veterans Fire Corps program. He says that “Service has always been a significant part of my life. My fellow veterans face significant barriers to employment, just as I did. I hope to be able to inspire my comrades to consider the opportunities available through The Corps Network.”