Savannah Fire Chief Charles G. Middleton and Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach and City Manager Rob Hernandez welcomed 18 new firefighters to the ranks of Savannah Fire & Emergency Services today, as members of SFES Recruit Class 2016-02 took the oath of office during an afternoon ceremony at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center on Hutchinson Island.
The new firefighters had just completed 14 weeks of intensive training, which earned each of them the nationally recognized designation of Firefighter II. Completion of the demanding academy training also earned each new firefighter additional certifications including HAZMAT Operations, Vehicle Extrication, Technical Rescue and 1st Responder.
Mayor DeLoach expressed his pride in welcoming the new firefighters to the city and the fire department. Hernandez spoke to the recruits from experience, having graduated from a fire academy himself more than a dozen years ago. He congratulated the members of the class and wished them success protecting the citizens and visitors of Savannah. Chief Middleton emphasized the need for each new member of the department to always remember their oath, to work hard every day to uphold the high standards of the department and the firefighting profession and to keep in mind that they represent the city of Savannah on and off duty.
Two members of the class were recognized for outstanding accomplishments during today’s ceremony: Michael Schonfeld received the academic award for highest grade point average and Bud Boyce received the Class Choice Award for her leadership during the academy.