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Pictured left to right: Deputy Chief Wendy Moffatt, Rene Kinser, Couran Therien, and Jake Newling.

South Whidbey Fire/EMS and Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue welcomed a total of six new volunteer firefighters at a special evening graduation event on November 3 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 2018 academy graduates serving Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue are Justin Burnett, Antwon Byrd, and Ken Lindenstein. Those serving South Whidbey Fire/EMS and their assigned stations are Jake Newling, Station 31 (Freeland); Couran Therien and Rene Kinser, Station 33 (Maxwelton).

“We celebrate your successful completion of a long journey through the fire academy,” according to 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 South Whidbey Fire/EMS has provided fire suppression, emergency medical service, marine, and rope rescue to residents and visitors since 1950. Volunteers and staff keep busy each and every day responding to the community’s needs, and in 2017 responded to 2,525 calls.

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