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Summit Fire & EMS Board president, Summit County fire-service leader Lori Miller steps down

SFE Board president, Summit County fire-service leader Lori Miller steps down

A smiling person with a Summit Fire & EMS patch on their jacket, with an American flag in the background.


Lori Miller, who has served for 10 years on the Summit Fire & EMS Board of Directors after an illustrious career in the Colorado fire service, resigned her position at today’s board meeting.


Chuck Tolton, a longtime ski-industry official and Summit County stalwart, was appointed to fill out the remainder of Miller’s term, and her position as president was assumed by Joe Ben Slivka. Dan Johnson was appointed vice-president.


“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve,” Miller said. “I’ve been really fortunate to work with tremendous boards and fire chiefs and executive staffs that want only the best for the community.”


Saying that it was “just my time” to step down from the volunteer position, Miller wants to attend to some family matters and continue her passion for pickleball, among other pursuits, and she intends to continue living in Summit County.


“We’re going to miss Lori’s leadership and voice at SFE,” said Chief Travis Davis. “She brought unique, insightful experience to our board, having served in every position in the fire service from firefighter to chief. During her tenure, we have accomplished a ton – consolidations and expansions, new buildings, international fire accreditation, our first contract with the union, and the list goes on.”


Tolton, who was sworn in at the meeting on Tuesday, is the remotely serving vice president of operations for the PingTian ski resort in Xinjiang, China, and the interim general manager for Sunlight Mountain Resort, after working in several senior positions for Vail Resorts and Copper Mountain and as a consultant focused on safety issues for many others. He has lived in Summit County for 47 years.

Person smiling, wearing glasses, a cap & jacket with fire/EMS patches, against an American flag backdrop. (Image is rotated.)


He has served on the Summit County EMS Board and worked with the Summit County Incident Management Group and on an advisory committee for Flight for Life Colorado, among his most relevant emergency-services experiences.

“I will look to draw from the experiences from having lived and worked in Summit County and the surrounding area over several decades,” Tolton said. “This includes relationships and interactions with a wide variety of federal and state agencies as well as many county departments … in addition to community partners and organizations, and of course fellow residents.”

Miller’s departure was commemorated with a proclamation and praise from her colleagues at Tuesday’s board meeting.


Recruited to serve as the training chief for Breckenridge-based Red, White & Blue Fire after 19 years with the Boulder Fire Department, Miller employed her ambition, wit, energy, experience and great people skills to continue her career-long rise in the fire service, ultimately becoming Colorado’s first female chief of a full-time professional fire department.


Soon after she retired, Miller joined the board of what then was Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, serving a period when it was taking on some of its biggest growth and challenges, including selecting Jeff Berino to replace longtime Chief Dave Parmley, and, a few years later, Davis to take over after Berino’s retirement.


Along the way, the agency merged with Copper Mountain Fire and then again with the Summit County Ambulance Service, changed legal designation from a fire authority to a fire district, passed a major mill-levy ballot measure, built and moved into a new administration building, gained accreditation with the Center for Public Safety Excellence, overhauled salary and benefits to improve recruitment and retention, negotiated its first collective bargaining agreement with the firefighter’s union and broke ground on the new fire station in Silverthorne.


“I thought I would be able to use my experience and background to be able to assist the fire district with moving forward,” Miller said. “I have a deep-seated passion for the fire service.”


That wasn’t always on her radar: Miller gained a teaching certificate after graduating from the University of Colorado and started out teaching pre-school. To help make ends meet, she taught first aid and that led to her volunteering to drive an ambulance in Broomfield, enticing Miller to get into emergency medical services.


Miller has taken great pride in being a female trailblazer in a male-dominated field. In Boulder, women made up three of the seven members of her 1985 recruitment class, and she later became that department’s first female captain.


Elected three times by voters in the fire district, which encompasses the northern part of Summit County, she took over as president of the board in 2021, when her predecessor, Jim Cox, stepped down after 18 years at the helm of SFE and its earlier iterations. Fittingly, Miller became the first woman in the organization’s history to hold that position, too.


“It’s been a great experience,” Miller said. “Now it’s time for someone else.”