The eight graduates of Thunder Bay Fire Rescue's training program officially joined ranks on Saturday.
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Stefan Moreira has put in a lot of hard work and perseverance to become a firefighter.
Next week he will see that effort start to pay off.
Moreira was one of eight new recruits were officially sworn into service with Thunder Bay Fire Rescue on Saturday at the Thunder Bay Fire & Emergency Services Regional Training Complex on Hammond Avenue.
The eight new recruits, who bring the Fire Rescue Division up to 213 members, spent 13 weeks in a rigorous training program to graduate.
“It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work for all of us,” said Moreira, who was the valedictorian of the graduate training class.
“There’s a lot of physical training and test preparation. The written exam is not an easy thing to do. If you really get to know what you’re doing on the academic side and then the physical hard work those are the most important things.”
Fire chief John Hay stressed it was not an easy process for the new fourth class firefighters, and that they had to take strides to separate themselves from the crowd of applicants.
Many had put in years of hard work and dedication to get hired, and Hay believes his department is able to attract some of the top recruits in the province.
“It’s a hard 13 weeks. It’s a relentless training event and they made it through,” Hay said.
“They had to put their best efforts forward in everything they did. They showed extreme effort and preparation in everything they did. They’ve been trying to get a job here for a long time and they dedicated themselves to getting that job.”
One of the biggest themes of the graduation ceremony from members of the department was to emphasize the importance of a life balance to the new recruits. Director of training Bill Johnson spoke at length to the audience about the concept of paying debts to those that helped throughout the process and during their careers.
This balance is something that Moreira has already been able to become familiar with.
Moreira, 29, had his sights set on becoming a firefighters since his first year of university and he said his goal is to build a career he can look back on and be proud of.
“I think all of these guys are models we can aspire to, and hopefully 25 to 30 years down the road we can look at ourselves be happy with who we are and what we’ve accomplished,” he said.
The eight new recruits are Darrec Jay Folino, Moreira, Glenn Lorentz, Tyler Reinelt, Derek Stajkowski, Michael Carli, Cory Prevost and Greg Pettypiece.
Long service personnel were also honoured, with several members being recognized for 10, 20 and 30 years with the department.
Moreira and his fellow graduates will have to keep their celebrations fairly short, however, as they are going to be on the trucks starting on Monday and Tuesday to commence their careers.
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