A new era begins with the Erie Fire Department as they welcome 13 new firefighters.
For most of those that were sworn in today, public service isn’t something new and that comes after 12 of them each served in the military.
An oath is taken as the largest class of Erie firefighters in 16 years join the force. 13 new firefighters will step into uniform for the department and for some, this is something they’ve worked towards for awhile.
“It all started a long time ago when I became a volunteer firefighter back home outside of Rochester, New York and I fell in love with it right there. I went on to serve my country in the U.S. Military, but knew I wanted to get back into it when I was out. So, it’s been a lot of work, a lot of studying, a lot of physical preparedness to get where I am and its been worth it every step of the way,” said Brian Hueser.
For others, the idea to help serve the community is something that’s been instilled in them since a young age, by looking up to family who also work in public service.
“It’s something that I have always wanted to do. I mean for awhile now I have been trying to do it and actually my great great uncle was a firefighter as well so it gives me a reason to keep it in the family,” said Alan Jageman.
But for some, the excitement of this job stems for the long-term goal.
“I get to go out and help people for a living now, that’s an amazing thing to say. I’m incredibly excited,” said Micaiah Gardner.
These firefighters have trained over the last several weeks, this week by the end of the month they’ll be fully equipped to hit the streets.
As for the veteran firefighters, they are ready to welcome each of the rookies with open arms.
“They’re the new family members and we are going to take care of them like they’re our younger brothers and that goes throughout the department,” said Chief Joe Walko.
The large class follows the retirement of 12 firefighters.
The list of new firefighters includes:
- Dustin VanHook- Grove City College
- Alec Nolan- U.S. Army (2016-2020)
- Micaiah Gardner- Former U.S. Army Infantry
- Daniel Gott- Slippery Rock University
- Ryan Drabina- Gannon University/Former Army Reserves
- Christopher Kalwasinski- Former U.S. Navy
- Dennis Fisher- Former Navy Reserve/EmergyCare
- Jenson Wetherbee- Former U.S. Air Force/Pennsylvania Air National Guard
- Christopher Carpin- Former U.S. Air Force/Pennsylvania Air National Guard
- Nathan Kio- Former U.S. Navy
- Brian Hueser- SUNY Brockport/Former U.S. Navy
- Alan Jageman- Penn State/Former U.S. Coast Guard
- Brian Dash-Former U.S. Army