31 graduate from fire academy

THIRTY-ONE new firefighters joined the ranks of the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services on Friday following their graduation ceremony in the Hibiscus Hall of Fiesta Resort & Spa.

 The new firefighters completed 975 hours of training that included operation-level responders training, emergency vehicle operation, and  responding to hazardous materials/weapons of mass destruction incidents.

 They also earned 38 college credits from  Northern Marianas College.

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 Jeremy R. Torres, 24, is the fire academy-12th cycle valedictorian, garnering the highest grade point average. He said their training lasted for six months, but “it was fun.”

 He added, “I had been in the military, but this [training] has a bit more edge than the military’s. The instructors were always on our face.”

 He said the training was very fast paced and very hard. “They say practice makes perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect,” he added. “There’s little room for error when we are dealing with people’s lives.”

 Torres thanked his family and wife, Marie Torres, for their support throughout the training. “Because of my family, and the other cadets’ families, we were able to wake up every day and try even harder,” he said.

 The class salutatorian was Henry King Jr. while James Manglona II was named Most Physically Fit and Giovanni Mira received the Governor’s Leadership Award.

The other graduates of the 12th cycle: Kyle M. Alvarez, Melton R. Atalig, Peter Borja, Ana R. Cabrera, Thomas Manglona III, Austin Masga, Ricky Masga, Brandon Cabrera, Roman John Camacho, Matthew M. Duenas, Raccine Hizon, Elizabeth T. Moded, Maximo Muna, Kishia Ogo, Jeffrey C. Repeki, Travis Kapileo, Kyoshji R. Kileleman, Kim King, Francisco M. Lieto, Francisco Lifoifoi, Keone C. Macaranas, Christopher P. Sablan, Joseph L. Sablan, Darren Santos, Stanley Santos Jr., Janika T. Taimanao and William Weita Jr.

Of the 31 new firefighters eight will be assigned to Rota, six to Tinian and 17 to Saipan.

Gov. Ralph Torres praised the new firefighters’ commitment to public service.

“As you wear your badge while you are out there protecting lives,  wear it with pride, because when we need help we will call you,” he added.

 DFEMS Commissioner Clyde Norita thanked the families of the new firefighters for being there for them.

He asked them to be  “there again” for the new firefighters as they start a new chapter of their career.  “This chapter is a bit tricky because the firefighters will now face the world and will find out if this adventure is truly for them,” Norita said.  “It is not for everyone, and both you and your firefighters will go through some minor bumps.”

He advised the new graduates to visit their supervisors and mentors for any concerns or questions.   “Trust me, they have killed more dragons than your commissioner,” Norita said in jest.

“Know your trucks and ambulances. In our business every second counts…and every switch and knobs should be second nature to you.”

Norita also advised the new firefighters to pursue a degree.  “Visit NMC and get a degree. You got 38 college credits already; you’re half-way there. The fire service demands that its officers and chiefs are educated and with advanced degrees. The path has been paved so make use of it. Don’t lose your fire.”

Public service, Norita added, is not for just anyone. “The job of a first responder calls for a special breed of men and women. First responders do their job not for recognition but for the satisfaction of saving lives and property. Your job is to save lives and silently slip away to the background and stand ready for the next call.”

He also reminded the new firefighters that “there are more than one way to kill a dragon — as we say in the department, we work smarter not harder.”

The graduation ceremony was emceed by assistant fire chief Jesse C. Mesa while CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro administered the oath of office.

Among those who joined the governor in the presentation of certificates and awards were Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, Senate President Arnold I. Palacios, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Tinian Mayor Joey P. San Nicolas, Rota Mayor Efrain Atalig and NMC President  Carmen Fernandez.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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