South Whidbey Fire/EMS welcomed volunteer firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) at a special graduation event on July 23 at Holmes Harbor Golf Club. The event recognized graduates from both 2015 and 2016 academies.

Each new member completed an intensive four months of work, involving more than 150 hours of study, training, and testing. As members of the department, they will continue to participate in weekly drills and frequent trainings opportunities, in order to keep their skills sharp.

“I don’t know most of you yet, but I do know something about your character. I am aware of the commitment it takes to achieve this certification, ” said Commissioner Kenon Simmons in his address. “Things are far different now than when I joined in 1981. Then we were asked two questions, boot size and coat size.”

Today’s screening and selection process is far more demanding. He congratulated the new members on their achievement and challenged them to live up to the department’s tagline: Integrity, Service, Trust. “May these words describe you and your future service,” Simmons continued. “Wear your badge with pride.”

The 2016 EMS academy graduates are Brian Boyd, Skylar Newkirk, Sean Roberts, Christina Turnbull-Agnew and Carl Hillegas. Graduates of the 2016 fire academy are Matthew Jones and Caitlin Jones. The 2015 EMS graduates are Andrew Agnew, Ariel Childers and Robyn Hagglund. Graduates of the 2015 fire academy are Shane Cummins, Carlee Mills, Kevin Rookstool, Sean Roberts, Ashley Taylor and Trevor Jones.

The department is seeking new recruits for upcoming academies, as well as qualified paid part-time firefighters. To learn more visit the department’s website 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 2,391 calls in 2015, setting another record year for emergency service.

Photo credit – Holly Davison Photography