Jeff Beltran named Marble Falls Firefighter of the Year; Sam Stacks honored
Two Marble Falls first responders were honored, one posthumously, during the Hill Country 100 Club banquet on March 2. Jeff Beltran was named Firefighter of the Year for Marble Falls Fire Rescue. The club also highlighted the life of former MFFR Capt. Sam Stacks, who died last year.
Beltran has been with the Marble Falls department for the past eight years of his 13-year career. And he’s just where he wants to be.
“This is my hometown,” he said. “When I first envisioned becoming a firefighter, it was with the hopes and dreams to become a part of the fire department here and have the ability to serve the community I grew up in. It’s an absolute honor. It’s like I’m living my dream every day.”
Over his career, Beltran has learned one key lesson: trust.
“There’s nothing we can do without depending on another person,” he said. “You have to be able to trust your teammates to do their part, which allows you to do your part together. You build a trust and a love for them.”
Assistant Fire Chief Tommy Crane, who will step in as interim fire chief beginning April 4, said Beltran’s best quality is leadership.
“He is an exceptional leader in the organization,” Crane said. “He’s well respected by his peers and the command staff. He leads by example. We have a lot of that in our department, but he just excels.”
Beltran said he is grateful for the work the Hill Country 100 Club does. The nonprofit supports families of first responders killed or injured in the line of duty.
“It’s amazing what they do for us,” Beltran said. “To have the confidence that I can go out and perform my job and to know that, if things go wrong, there’s this organization that will take care of my family and will do whatever they can to support them is a comforting factor for me.”
The firefighter is also thankful for the support of his wife, Audrey, and the entire staff of Marble Falls Fire Rescue.
“Nothing I do would be possible without the support I receive from my wife and all the people here in this organization,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”
The Hill Country 100 Club also honored Stacks, who died unexpectedly in September 2022. Plaques were presented to the Marble Falls Fire Rescue and his widow, Cheryl Stacks.
“We were really there to support Cheryl,” Fire Chief Russell Sander said. “We wanted to be able to stand behind her and say a few good words about Sam.”
The department plans to build a showcase to commemorate Stack’s life and legacy.
“We’re going to take that plaque, and it will be displayed in a case that we’re building as a memorial to Capt. Stacks,” Sander said.