On Friday, December 29, 2023, we had the honor of celebrating twenty-eight Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) who graduated from Loudoun County Fire and Rescue’s 44th recruit class in an official ceremony at Heritage High School 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 Leesburg District Supervisor Kristen Umstattd swore in the recruits as the newest members of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System (LC-CFRS).
Deputy Chief Nicole Pickrell emceed the event and in her opening remarks, commended the recruits for their hard work and commitment during the 26-week recruit program. “We are here today to celebrate the achievements of these twenty-eight men and woman who have successfully completed recruit school,” said Deputy Chief Pickrell. “Along the way, they have endured hundreds of hours of physical training, rigorous academic requirements and challenging practical evolutions, not to mention the time spent away from their family and friends studying and preparing themselves for class.”
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.
Assistant Chief James Williams addressed the audience on behalf of LC-CFRS, thanking not only the recruits for their dedication and determination, but also the Board of Supervisors, County administration, and Loudoun community for their support of the Fire and Rescue system. As Recruit Class 44 is about to embark on their journey in operations, Chief Williams shared a few thoughts and perspectives with the graduates. “When you come to work each day, it’s imperative that you show up as the very best version of you as possible, and be ready to perform,” said Chief Williams. “Our community expects you to be the best in their time of need, and your crew is relying on you to perform to the very best of your ability each and every day you come to work. Your lives and their lives depend on that.”
Special recognition went to Firefighter/EMT Bradley Smith who was designated Top Recruit for Class 44. Firefighter Smith showed exemplary leadership and dedication throughout the challenging program, earning the Top Recruit Award.
Also recognized was Firefighter/EMT Carlos Carrasco, who received the Lt. Alex J. Keepers Memorial Award. The Lt. Alex J. Keepers Award was established to memorialize Lt. Keepers, who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident on his way to work on December 31, 2007, and is awarded to the recruit who made outstanding improvements throughout the recruit academy. Firefighter Carrasco, like Lt. Keepers, embodies a character that never quit and pushed through adversity.
This year, a third award was added to Recruit Training and recognizes a recruit who has demonstrated commitment and dedication to their overall health and physical fitness while completing recruit school. Firefighter/EMT John Larsen was awarded the Recruit Physical Fitness Award and personifies the values of Recruit Training, as well as embodies the vision of Health and Wellness. These graduating recruits completed an extensive recruit academy that incorporated countless hours of emergency medical technician and firefighting training into a 26-week program.
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: