New firefighters honored

Published 9:40 pm Monday, February 3, 2020

For 11 months, 22 men and women put in nearly 8,000 hours in grueling training to become the next firefighters in our area.

Last week, they graduated with the support of their family and friends and with one last push of inspiration from keynote speaker Bobby Halton, a retired deputy chief of the Albuquerque Fire Department and the editor-in-chief of Fire Engineering Magazine.

Halton told the firefighters they are entering what’s been called “the war that never ends.” It’s not a particularly flattering description of the career, but in some ways, it’s true. In the war of firefighting, the enemy — mostly, anyway — is fire. No matter how many ways there are to prevent fire, the effort to keep it from stealing lives and ruining memories will never end.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s an endless deployment from this day forward ‘til the day you die, because a firefighter never stops being a firefighter,” Halton said.

But the word firefighter is a misnomer. Firefighters do fight fires, but these days they do so much more. Some of their biggest additional duties include responding to medical emergencies and hazardous materials situations — and, of course, helping to prevent fires and teach people on how to escape a fire in their home or business if one does break out.

In short, firefighters are some of our most beloved public servants, and we would be remiss if we did not honor these new firefighters at the beginning of their careers.

We congratulate and honor these 21 young heroes that either are protecting and serving our city already or will be very soon. We also wish Amani Harper well at Portsmouth Fire and Rescue.

Alexis Albright

Scot Allen

Cody Baines

Joshua Baker

Stacie Ellis

Ashton Felts

Adam Fischbach

Scott Hitter

David Keller

Charles Kelley

Austin Mills

Jonathan Monahan

Ashleigh Oszust

Mariya Register

Nicholas Retson

Robert Shelton

William Stephens

Donald Vaughan

Matt Wendel

Raquel Wheby

Christopher Wynne