FORT COLLINS — Ryan Muchmore is not used to getting help. He's used to giving it.
"I think his track record kind of speaks to that, with him serving in the military and now also serving his community in Colorado," said his wife Bri Marsico. "He's just an amazing person."
This summer, the Army Ranger veteran, now a full-time firefighter in Fort Collins, was moving his fire gear from one station to another and made a detour in Denver for breakfast.
"It was in the back of my truck here," said Muchmore, who said he thought the heavy, specialized gear would not be a target for thieves. "Unfortunately, when I came out, the tailgate of my truck was down. Both bags, all my equipment, was missing."
More than $15,000 worth of specialized firefighting gear was gone, and because he was not at work or on his way to work, insurance would not cover the loss.
"It should not have been back there. It was my mistake for actually leaving it back there," said Muchmore. "But my heart just sank because whoever did steal it, there's no really benefit for them. They can't sell that equipment, they can't really do anything with, I would say, 90% of that equipment."
His colleagues also couldn't believe this happened.
"He's a go-getter, works hard, comes to work every day ready to go," said Michael Bothwell, who works with Muchmore. "My reaction initially was, 'Did they open it to see what it was?' Because it's not really that useful to someone in the general public."
Muchmore has worked out a payment plan to reimburse his fire station, but Marsico said he is also supporting the family while she gets her PhD in microbiology at Colorado State University.
"I know how hard he works," she said. "It's just been such a dark cloud kind of hanging over everything."
Their GoFundMe has helped a little, but it stalled after friends and family contributed.
Muchmore is still holding out hope his old gear may someday be found, but he is also investing in locks to store his new gear when necessary.
"Halloween is coming up, so keep your eyes out for some person dressed up as a firefighter, last name Muchmore on it. My bunker gear has my last name on it," he said with a smile. "When these situations happen, you can easily turn to the dark side of humanity and not really enjoy people as much. But then, you can't really let yourself get down like that. You've got to appreciate the goodness of people still."
If you would like to help Ryan replace his stolen firefighting gear, click here. Select "Help Replace Ryan's Stolen Firefighter Equipment" in the dropdown menu.
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