Meet the Firefighter: Glades County’s Jason Snyder

MOORE HAVEN — This 2019 season of Thanksgiving seems to be a good time to revive our old Okeechobee News tradition of recognizing first responders whose lives are on the line for all of us every day.

Especially in Glades County this autumn there is gratitude in the chilling air as the county’s new full-time crew gets acclimated to the county. Several of them are from elsewhere or live outside the county, so we’d thought we’d introduce Glades’ new firefighters and paramedics first.

Born in Metairie, La., in 1976, Jason Synder was 4 when he moved to Florida and he grew up in Fort Myers. He lives in Cape Coral at present.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Courtesy of GCPS
Jason Snyder

He brought with him over 28 years of experience in the emergency services field, starting as a volunteer firefighter for Estero Fire Rescue in 1991. He has worked for Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Rescue, Lee County Emergency Medical Services, Bayshore Fire Rescue, Immokalee Fire Rescue and the Florida Forest Service prior to Glades County.

His education; military service; secondary schooling; certificates or degrees include: Florida Certified Firefighter/EMT, Certified Wildland Firefighter, Pump Operator, Vehicle Extrication Technician, Fire Instructor 1, Fire Officer 2, Fire Safety Inspector 2, associate’s degree in fire science.

Jason first got into this field as a volunteer firefighter with Estero Fire Rescue “when I was 14. The show ‘Emergency’ made me want to be a firefighter when I was a kid,” he said.

What was his most memorable role or experience in being a first responder?

“In 2008 there was a large fire in Lakeport on Lake Okeechobee during extremely dry weather. Glades County had requested a strike team of engines from Lee County where I was working at the time. I responded with an engine from Bayshore Fire Rescue, and we were tasked with patrolling the area looking for spot fires and protecting structures in Lakeport. We patrolled throughout the night and Bob Jones (public safety director and now Glades County’s manager) bought us a great breakfast at Countryside Café the next morning.”

His favorite part of being a firefighter, he says, is “knowing I am able to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Among the personal awards and rewarding experiences, firefighter Snyder lists a Phoenix Award for saving a life using CPR Community Service Award; several Green Cross Awards for saving a life using the Jaws of Life; Unit Citation; Fire Chief’s Commendation.

In his off time, Jason enjoys traveling, fishing, camping and spending time with family. Jason is excited to be a part of the Glades County Public Safety team.

Any words of advice to young people thinking of getting into a public safety career?

“Stay in shape, eat healthy, and never stop learning!”

Chris Felker can be reached at

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