Last week we had the honor of celebrating twenty-one Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians who graduated from Loudoun County Fire and Rescue’s 43rd recruit class in an official ceremony at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg.
The recruits, their friends and family, along with members of fire and rescue leadership, Loudoun County administration and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors looked on as Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary Clemens swore in the recruits as the newest members of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System (LC-CFRS).
Recently retired Deputy Chief Randall L. Shank emceed the event and in his opening remarks, commended the recruits for their hard work and commitment. “As with every recruit class, these individuals have endured many hours of physical training, academic challenges, long and often challenging training evolutions, as well as countless evenings and weekends of studying and time spent away from their family and friends.”
In remarks by Board of Supervisor Chair Phyllis Randall, the recruits were praised for their hard work and sacrifice and reminded that mental health and wellness are critical aspects of public safety that we should always be mindful of.
Supervisor Michael Turner from the Ashburn district shared with the recruits a glimpse of his military experience and reminded the recruits to trust their instincts and use every opportunity to learn.
For the first time in LCFR history, Recruit Class 43 completed an accelerated 12-week training academy, instead of LCFR’s traditional 26-week course. Applicants for this accelerated class were required to have certifications in firefighting, hazardous materials, and emergency medical technician to be considered for the program. Once at the Academy, recruits participated in approximately 470 hours of physical training, learning Loudoun County’s emergency medical protocols, technical rescue, MAYDAY/firefighter down techniques, and live fire evolutions.
Special recognition goes to Firefighter/EMT James House who was designated top recruit for class 43. Firefighter House showed exemplary leadership, poise, and dedication throughout the challenging program, helping to ensure the success of his classmates.
Also recognized, the Lieutenant Alex J. Keepers Memorial Award winner for recruit class 43, Firefighter/EMT Catherine Cottone. The award was established to memorialize Lt. Keepers, who was tragically killed in 2007, and is presented to a recruit who made outstanding improvements throughout the academy, never quitting, and pushing through adversity.
Congratulations to the following personnel as they begin their careers as Loudoun County Firefighter/EMTs, assigned to various fire and rescue stations throughout the county:
John Paul Gaston