South Whidbey Fire/EMS and Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue  welcomed a total of six new volunteer firefighters at a special graduation event on November 18 in Freeland. The event recognized the graduates who recently completed a combined fire academy.

Each new member successfully participated in an intensive six months of work, involving more than 150 hours of study, training, and testing. As members of their respective departments, they will continue to participate in weekly drills and frequent training opportunities, in order to keep their skills sharp.

The 2017 academy graduates serving Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue are Dalton Martin, Frank Gesing and Leeroy Correa. Those serving South Whidbey Fire/EMS and their assigned stations are Carl Hillegas, Clinton; Al Charat, Langley; and John LeDrew, Freeland

“We celebrate your successful completion of a long journey through the fire academy,” said South Whidbey Fire/EMS Chief H.L.”Rusty” Palmer. “We are proud of each of you for persevering through your individual challenges to complete such an achievement.”

The department is currently looking for new candidates to fill the next academy. To learn more visit the department’s website at www.swfe.org. South Whidbey Fire/EMS has provided fire suppression, emergency medical service, marine, and rope rescue to residents and visitors since 1950. Volunteers and staff responded to 2,600 calls in 2016, setting another record year for emergency service.