Officers

Chief Bob Lewis

Serving since 1991
bob.lewis@chcrs.org

Chief Lewis is the only two time Chief of CHCRS, having first served in 1995 through 1997 with his current appointment beginning in 2011. Bob joined CHCRS in 1991, having applied after noticing the squad working First Aid at the Riverbend Festival. He has served as the Secretary for the Executive Staff for a time and served as both a Lieutenant and a Captain of the Cave/Cliff Unit for many years. Bob met and married his wife, Melissa, through their mutual involvement in volunteering with CHCRS. In his life outside of rescue, Bob is the President and CEO of the East Tennessee Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a licensed EMT-P. He also enjoys running, snow skiing and competing in triathlons.


Assistant Chief Buddy Lane

Serving since 1977

Assistant Chief Lane joined CHCRS in 1977. Recruited by the late Cave/Cliff Unit Captain Don Black, Buddy has served the squad as the cornerstone of the Cave/Cliff Unit for almost 40 years. Buddy served as the Captain of the Cave/Cliff Unit for 26 years before accepting his current role as Assistant Chief. During this span, Buddy has been credited for the execution of many highly publicized rescues and the recruitment of many of the most talented rope rescue professionals in the U.S. which has bolstered the Cave/Cliff Unit’s reputation as a world-class rescue team. In his life outside of rescue, Buddy runs many small businesses including Lane Steel Fabricators. Buddy also serves as a Director with the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, a non-profit organization of which he is a founding member. He also has served as the SCCi Treasurer for over 20 years. Buddy also enjoys caving and travel with his wife Doranne and their two children.


Cave/Cliff Unit Captain Brad Tipton

Serving since 1997

Captain Tipton joined CHCRS in 1997 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Recruited by former Lieutenant Dennis Curry, Brad has served for the squad for nearly 20 years. Since 2009, Brad has served as a Lieutenant and currently as the Captain of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Brad has served as the head of member recruitment since 2008, bolstering the Cave/Cliff Unit’s roster from 16 members in 2008 to 38 members at present. Brad has responded to over 100 rescues with the Cave/Cliff Unit amounting to more than 1,000 hours total. In his life outside of rescue, Brad is employed by Pilgrim’s Corporation and serves as their Director of Quality Assurance for the company’s 24 North American operations. Brad also serves as a volunteer Stewardship Coordinator for the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, a non-profit organization that protects and manages caves in the southeastern U.S. In his spare time, Brad enjoys caving, mountaineering, mountain biking and traveling with his wife, Wendy who is also the squad’s PIO.


Cave/Cliff Lieutenant Brian Krebs

Serving since 1994

Lieutenant Krebs joined CHCRS in 1994 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Recruited by former Lieutenant Dennis Curry, Brian has served the squad for over 20 years. Since 2007, Brian has served as the Lieutenant of the Cave/Cliff Unit and has been instrumental in the development of rescue members through advancements in training and organization during this time. Brian also volunteers as an instructor for the National Cave Rescue Commission where he teaches new rescuers the fine art of cave rescue. In his life outside of rescue, Brian is the President and CEO of the Synergy Real Estate Group in Franklin, TN. Brian also serves as a Director for the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, a non-profit organization that protects and manages caves in the southeastern U.S. In his spare time, Brian also enjoys caving, snow skiing and traveling with his wife Emily and their two children.



Cave/Cliff Lieutenant Andy Voss

Serving since 2001

Lieutenant Voss joined CHCRS in 2001 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. One of the first rock climbers recruited to the team, Andy helped expand the team's skill set with his vast knowledge of traditional climbing techniques. Andy leads the Cave/Cliff Unit's medical staff under the supervision of Dr. David Wharton and currently maintains his Paramedic license. Andy's medical intervention has allowed CHCRS the time necessary to pull off many successful deep cave rescues despite patients with considerable, life threatening trauma. In his life outside of rescue, Andy is a deputy with the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office and a medic with the Hamilton County S.W.A.T. Team. He also enjoys climbing in his free time and is well respected in the climbing community for his achievements in rock climbing.


 




Support Services Lieutenant             
Anthony Ragland

Serving since 1999

Lieutenant Ragland joined CHCRS in 1999 and has served in the Support Services Division in many capacities during his tenure, including certified instructor for EVOC, Bloodborne Pathogens, CPR and Basic Vehicle Extrication. Anthony has previously served CHCRS as both a Lieutenant and Captain under the appointment of previous Chiefs of Rescue. Anthony was a practicing EMT-IV from 1997 to 2014 and currently holds an AEMT certification.




Communications Officer Melissa Lewis

Serving since 1991
melissa.lewis@chcrs.org

Melissa joined CHCRS in 1991 when she and future husband Chief Lewis applied after seeing CHCRS providing medical services at the Riverbend Festival. In her life outside of rescue, Melissa is a licensed EMT employed by Erlanger. 








Public Information Officer Wendy Tipton

Serving since 1999

Wendy joined CHCRS in 1999 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Recruited by her future husband Captain Tipton, she has participated in many rescues in the role of staging management and the coordination of rescue resources. Wendy served as the Secretary of CHCRS from 2009 to 2012 and currently serves as the squad’s Public Information Officer. In her life outside of rescue, Wendy works as a Lead Appeal Specialist for UNUM in Chattanooga. Wendy also enjoys traveling, reading, photography and hiking.






Chaplain Gail Francis

Serving since 1991

Gail joined CHCRS in 1991, following her husband Jeff and working together as chaplains of rescue. Following Jeff's passing in 2012, Gail continued to fill the role of Chaplain. Gail has four children, one of which is a second generation CHCRS member, and eight grandchildren. In her life outside of rescue, Gail has worked for the Orange Grove Center for 31 years caring for special needs adults.




President Mike Hills

Serving since 2005

President Hills joined CHCRS in 2006 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Recruited by former Lieutenant Dennis Curry, Mike has participated in a number of rescues during his nearly 10 years of service to the squad. Currently Mike serves as the squad’s President, taking over for longtime President J.C. Thompson. In his life outside of rescue, Mike operates a family owned Hidden Hills Farm in Collegedale, TN and works as a Level III Rope Access Technician for Over the Edge. Mike also retired as a Professor at Southern Adventist University where he oversaw the Outdoor Education Program. Mike was also instrumental in developing many current rescuers through his internship program with SAU. In his spare time, Mike enjoys caving, paddling and working the family farm with his wife Tara and their two children.


Vice President Todd Wells

Serving since 2010

Vice President Wells joined CHCRS in 2008 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Recruited by Chief Lane, Todd has become an asset to the squad by bringing his extensive knowledge and experience in rock climbing techniques to the Cave/Cliff Unit. Todd is a widely respected climber in the region and has pioneered many new routes across the southeast and was once a climbing guide for the American Alpine Institute. In his life outside of rescue, Todd is a longtime high school English teacher, but has also worked as a deckhand in a commercial fishing vessel in the Bering Sea and volunteered in the Peace Corps building schools in villages in West Africa.  In his spare time, Todd enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering and caving. 





Secretary Sara Kreps

Serving since 2010

Secretary Kreps joined CHCRS in 2009 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Recruited by President Hills, Sara was one of the first candidates in the joint CHCRS and SAU internship program. Since then Sara has graduated from Southern Adventist University and become a valued member of the squad and currently serves as the Secretary on the Corporate Staff. In her life outside of rescue, Sara works as a trainer at Hidden Hills Farm and Saddle Club in Collegedale, TN and works as a Rope Access Technician for Over the Edge. In her spare time, Sara enjoys working with horses, caving and volunteering to lead caving trips with the Chattanooga Grotto. Sara is discharged from the Navy and she also speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.




Treasurer Bruce Smith

Serving since 1982

Treasurer Smith joined CHCRS in 1982 as a member of the Cave/Cliff Unit. Over the last 30 years Bruce has served the squad in a number or roles including Vice President for many years, training coordinator for the Cave/Cliff Unit and currently as the Treasurer for the last 6 years. Bruce’s knowledge and expertise in rope systems is widely respected in both the rescue and rope access communities. His leadership has elevated the Cave/Cliff Unit’s reputation as the most skilled, capable rope rescue team in North America. In his life away from rescue, Bruce recently sold his very successful business On Rope 1 after building it from the ground up and co-authored both editions of the book One Rope and is currently working on the third edition. He also was heavily involved in writing the curriculum used by the National Cave Rescue Commission to train cave rescuers. While retired, Bruce still trains rescuers in high angle rope rescue techniques and SRT. In his spare time, Bruce travels with his wife Gini.


Unit Director Jennifer Freeman

Serving since 2008

Jennifer joined CHCRS is 2008 as a member of Support Services. Recruited by Steve Freeman, Jennifer has been active in maintaining regional ties to other rescue squads through her work with the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads (TARS). Jennifer is currently the Unit Director, having replaced longtime Director Paul Wilkerson in 2012. Jennifer is an instructor in Basic Life Support. In her life outside of rescue, Jennifer is a Certified Medical Assistant. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, water sports and the outdoors.