Categorized | Government, News

Firefighter recruits graduated

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Members of the Hawaii Fire Department’s 38th Fire Fighter Recruit Class pose for a class photo. From left to right: Jared Spencer, Jason Habu, Jeffrey Maki, Waylen Towata, Christopher Olayon, Damien-Joseph Wengler-Ioane, West Hawthorne, Andrew Miller, Tyler Nagamine, Roland Laliberte, and Paul Higgins

Members of the Hawaii Fire Department’s 38th Fire Fighter Recruit Class pose for a class photo. From left to right: Jared Spencer, Jason Habu, Jeffrey Maki, Waylen Towata, Christopher Olayon, Damien-Joseph Wengler-Ioane, West Hawthorne, Andrew Miller, Tyler Nagamine, Roland Laliberte, and Paul Higgins

The Hawaii Fire Department held commencement exercises for its 38th Fire Fighter Recruit Class on Saturday, September 19, 2009, at the Hilo Yacht Club in Hilo.

The new Fire Fighters are: Jason Habu, West Hawthorne, Paul Higgins, Roland Laliberte, Jeffrey Maki, Andrew Miller, Tyler Nagamine, Christopher Olayon, Jared Spencer, Waylen Towata, and Damien-Joseph Wengler-Ioane.

The class underwent 11 months of intensive instruction and fieldwork. The first 5½ months involved fire and rescue training that included a nationally recognized fire science curriculum, wildland fire training, hazardous materials operations training, rescue operations familiarization, lifeguard certification, and driver training.

The remainder of their training was spent at the Emergency Medical Services Training Center where the fire fighters earned their Emergency Medical Technicians Basic and Intermediate certifications. During this time, they also spent nine weeks applying their emergency medical technician skills on clinical rotations through Central, Kawailani, and Keaau Fire Stations on the ambulance, as well as at the Emergency Room, Obstetrics, and Intensive Care Units at Hilo Medical Center.

Managing Director Bill Takaba represented Mayor Billy Kenoi at the luncheon ceremonies. He addressed the recruits by telling them that although they have persevered the training, learning will be a lifelong process in their career. He stressed, “The citizens of Hawaii County depend on you. Do everything you can to honor their trust.” Mr. Takaba told the class that they will carry on a long, proud history as fire fighters in the Hawaii Fire Department.

Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira asked the recruits to reflect on three things: first, to be thankful for the support they received to get them here today—their instructors, peers and most of all from their family and friends; second, to realize what a privilege and honor it is to belong to a profession rich in pride, tradition and history; and lastly, to understand and appreciate the tremendous responsibility they have in their chosen profession to maintain their knowledge, skills and abilities, and preparedness to serve our community.

He told the class to accept each triumph and success in their next 25 plus years of their professional lives with humility and appreciation, as well as to accept downfall as a challenge and opportunity to learn, grow and develop. Chief Oliveira urged the class to continue their pursuit of excellence and as the Fire Department’s mission statement says, their “dedication to serve with pride, honor and compassion.”

Fire Commissioner John Bertsch reflected that the Hawaii Fire Department was founded in 1888 as the Hilo Volunteer Department. Today, it is a professional department as we have the best training program in the State of Hawaii which allows us to produce the best fire fighters for our department and the community.

Mr. James Gray, who was the instructor for the Emergency Medical Technician segment of the class, told the audience that the 38th recruit class entered EMS training with very little knowledge of pre hospital medical care. “Today, they sit before you with greater knowledge of life sustaining treatment. In these three short months, they have witnessed the entire spectrum—witnessed first breaths of life and their last.” Mr. Gray urged the class to always have empathy and compassion when caring for those in need. He said, “Learning does not end here. By your chosen profession, you have become a lifelong learner.”

Captain Gerald Kosaki of the Fire Department’s Training Bureau stressed to the class the importance of maintaining a positive attitude throughout their careers and remembering the teamwork concept. He urged them to give it their best for the next 25 years.

Battalion Chief Ralph Yawata of the Emergency Medical Services Bureau provided the class with their recipe for success and challenged them to continue their education and training.

The 38th Fire Fighter Class message was delivered by Paul Higgins and Jared Spencer, who told the audience that their training was not always a smooth road. However, they are here because others took the time to teach and mentor them. members of our class. They are very privileged to be here today and acknowledged their families and friends for their patience, love and prayers.

Having successfully met all the criteria of their recruit training, the 38th Fire Fighter Class was presented to Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira and Deputy Fire Chief Glen Honda, who issued them their badges. As is customary in fire service, the fire fighters then chose a family member or friend to pin their badge on their uniform.

The new fire fighters will soon receive their first station assignments.

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