New firefighter graduates ready to protect, serve communities
ALPENA — When a firefighter graduates from the fire academy, they take on a commitment to protect and serve the community they serve, while ensuring they return home safe after staring danger in the face.
On Sunday, 18 newly graduated firefighters took their oath, received their pins and are prepared to put their lives on the line to help people facing a crisis.
Fire officials of all ranks and some government officials were in attendance for the ceremony inside Park Arena at Alpena Community College.
Among them was State Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, who shared how she grew up with members of her family who were firefighters.
She explained how last year a neighbor’s house caught fire and she got to witness the entire operation of the fire being extinguished, and firefighters saving family heirlooms. She said it was then, she fully understood what her grandfather and uncle faced everyday.
“I remember seeing them in their uniforms and wanting to wear their hats and be amazed at the shiny badges,” she said. “I got to visit the fire station sometimes, but I never fully understood what they did. I thought all they did was put out fires. Now, I realized I wanted to do those things because I was proud of them.”
Alpena County Emergency Services Coordinator Mark Hall, a retired firefighter, said there are three principles the young firefighters should always follow.
The first is to save lives, most importantly their own, no matter what.
“You have a responsibility to come home to your family after every call. Period,” Hall said.
The second task is to never do something that can make a bad situation worse, and the final one is to preserve items that are important to the people who are facing the realization they are losing the house, and most belongings.
Hall said most times, the most important items are things that are irreplaceable, like family photos and other things that make a house a home.
“They will get a new house,” he said. “You can do something great and help to make that new house a home.”
After taking their oath, fire chiefs and other fire personnel from the various departments in Northeast Michigan placed the newly earned pins on their uniform and joined together in the reciting of the firefighter’s prayer.