Seven get fire department promotions

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

One message was strikingly clear during Thursday afternoon’s promotion ceremony for the city’s Department of Fire and Rescue: It’s all about the team.

“When we have our priorities in order and faith in each other, anything is possible,” said Fire Chief Mark Outlaw during Thursday’s ceremony.

For seven members of the fire department, what became possible were new leadership positions and roles in the city.

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Andre L. Durham was promoted to Battalion Chief; James A. Broglin, James N. Dickens and William Kessinger became new captains; and Nathaniel Boyd, Raphael Brown and Shawn Felts were both promoted to lieutenant.

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined efforts of each individual,” Outlaw told the new officers. “I’m very proud of each of you and hope you have many years of successful service as a fire officer.”

Outlaw took time to talk about each of the new officers, praising them for their work ethic, personalities and dedication to the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Department. He even got a laugh from the crowd, when he referred to Shawn Felts as a real “live wire” for whom he had tremendous respect.

Battalion Chief Chuck Knight told friends and family members who attended the service Thursday that, while the individuals being honored were different personalities, they shared an important quality.

“They’re a unique group, very different,” he said. “But the common denominator I see in all of them is dedication.”

After getting his new badge, Durham was asked to speak on behalf of all the new officers.

Durham opened his remarks by reminding the crowd that the slogan for the city of Suffolk is “It’s a Good Time To Be in Suffolk.”

“I would like to think today, and I think you all would agree with me, that yes, it is a good time to be in Suffolk,” he joked.

Durham then gave advice to the new officers, advising them to be everything from loyal and motivated to tactful and enthusiastic.

He also reminded the new officers that success is not based solely on the promotions that come with a job or career. True success, he said, is found in the support and love of family and friends.

“That success is indicated today with all the friends and family here with us today,” he said.

Among the approximately 75 guests in attendance Thursday were Councilmen Leroy Bennett and Charles Parr, as well as City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn.