The Monmouth County Fire Academy graduated 46 firefighters from the Firefighter I program last week. Graduates were divided into two classes: Class 104 graduated Jan. 21 and Class 105 graduated Jan. 22. Both ceremonies were held at the Fire Academy on Route 33, Howell.
Graduates worked 188 hours over 30 sessions and received training in rescue, fire extinguishment, hazardous materials response, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, electrical safety, and care of hoses, ladders and other equipment.
“Firefighting is more than public service or volunteerism – it is a calling, a way of life. You cannot put a price on it. It is your reputation, your integrity, your life,” Freeholder John P. Curley said in his address to the classes. “Every day from this day forward you are now firefighters. You have earned our respect. On behalf of Monmouth County and the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
A graduate from each class earned an award in honor of Ronald Fitzpatrick, a former instructor at the Fire Academy who died in 2003. The awards went to Matthew LaVecchia, Class 104 of Gordon’s Corner Fire Company in Manalapan and James Smith, Sr. of the Robertsville Fire Company in Marlboro.
Monmouth County Fire Marshal Henry Stryker III congratulated the graduates and urged them to continue their training with advanced courses offered at the Fire Academy.
“It takes a special type of person to be a firefighter,” Stryker said. “They have to have a passion to do this job.
The graduates sitting before us have that passion because they have completed the rigorous training as their first step. Please be safe.”
“By virtue of becoming a volunteer firefighter you have already gone above and beyond the call of duty. Be assured it is not something we forget or take lightly,” said Curley “You all are a credit to Monmouth County and to the towns and people you serve. We salute you and thank you for protecting us.”
Each year thousands of local firefighters receive training at the County Fire Academy. For more information about the County Fire Academy visit www.visitmonmouth.com.
Link area graduates include:
Class 104: Ian G. Davis, Wanamassa Fire Company; Joseph L. DeRocker IV, Wanamassa Fire Company; John Roselli, West Long Branch Fire Department.Class 105: Michel D. Chavez, Oakhurst Fire Company; Andrew B. Clay, City of Long Branch; Rory D. Green, Eatontown Fire Department; Joe A. Ramos, Eatontown Fire Department.