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— Going the extra mile and making sure he is well qualified for his position and capable of carrying out his duties is certainly a goal of Gentry Fire Chief Vester Cripps.

Though no college degrees are currently required for the Gentry fire chief position, he has continued his studies and recently earned his doctorate in fire science.

Cripps, who holds a bachelor’s degree in the field of paramedics, went on to earn his masters and now a doctorate in fire science. He enrolled in online courses from Ridgewood University, Wilmington, Del., and took a host of courses dealing with fire prevention, fire fighting, hazardous materials, building structures, rescue, accident extrication and more.

After working on his doctorate for about five years, he graduated with high honors in June and was awarded his doctorate in the field of fire science from the online school.

“It is becoming very common around the country for fire departments to want their employees to have college degrees,” Cripps said.

Though no such degree is required in Gentry, Cripps took it upon himself to be as qualified as he can be for his post.

News, Pages 2 on 10/07/2009

Print Headline: Cripps earns PhD

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