GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Residents living near the Grizzly Creek Fire posted hundreds of messages on Facebook, thanking the man who some called “the Sam Elliot of firefighters.”

Operations Section Chief Jeff Surber (credit: Grizzly Creek Fire/Facebook); actor Sam Elliot (credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Operations Section Chief Jeff Surber said he’s never had so much support from a community.

“The gratitude from the communities surrounding the Grizzly Cr. Fire has been overwhelming,” Surber wrote. “I have never experienced the level of support as I have here.”

(credit: Grizzly Creek Fire/Facebook)

In addition to comparing Surber to the movie star with a most-impressive mustache, many people praised Surber for his informative daily updates.

“Chief Suber, your calm demeanor along with your professional presentation of the updates gave us all a sense of security and hope during a time of extreme stress and devastation!” Renee Brest wrote. “You are an angel!”

“I was always looking forward to your updates,” Tracy Altmaier commented. “Your team was amazing and helped to ease our anxieties and fears.”

Sarah Braucht posted a picture of a painting with the caption, “In Surber We Trust.”

(credit: Sarah Braucht/Facebook)

“Mr. Surber, your daily briefings were perfectly precise, knowledgeable, educational, thoughtful and direct. You spoke of the topography, neighborhoods and communities as if you were a long-time local, which is no easy feat,” Jenika Ann wrote.

Surber said he would return home with some great memories.

Many people urged him to come back for a visit under better circumstances.

“Chief Surber – don’t be a stranger! You’re a part of our community now, and bring your family some time to experience a true vacation in our valley – your deserve some nice R&R time here!” Evelyn Pinney wrote.

“You are an incredible human! Thank you so very much for all of your hard work and for saving our town! You are always welcome here. Sure hope you can come back an visit one day,” Yantze Zastrow commented.

Surber was humble about his role in the mission.

“I’m proud to have been afforded the opportunity to be a small part of the overall effort,” he wrote.

Community members thanked his whole team for their dedication and personal sacrifice.

“I was humbled to see the tents off of I-70 today of firefighters living, breathing and sleeping nearby for all of our protection,” Cara Walker Connolly wrote. “Thank you from our family to yours. What an amazing feeling to have such talent and expertise in our backyard.”
Tanya B Dominique posted a photo of a dog sitting in front of a thank you sign.

(credit: Tanya B Dominique/Facebook)

Beth Schutte shared a picture of a thank you painting, with a gorgeous mountain view in the background.

(credit: Beth Schutte/Facebook)

“Thank you to the Sam Elliot of firefighters!” Brittany Thatcher commented. “You and your team are amazing and we all appreciate you tremendously!”

Anica Padilla