GRIFFITH │Seventeen firefighters graduated Saturday in a ceremony at Griffith Fire Department Station 3.
The new firefighters completed six months of training through the Indiana Firefighter Training System, a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Their training was at the Gary/Griffith District 1 Fire Academy and marked the first time a ceremony was held for friends and family members.
“These guys and girls worked their butts off,” said Griffith Firefighter Joe Martin, a lead instructor for the class. “They’re going to help their departments and their communities greatly and they deserve to be recognized."
New firefighter Jessica Tas, 21, is joining the St. John department. Firefighting and law enforcement has been a part of her family. Tas is currently in EMT school and hopes to land a full-time firefighting position soon. In her speech at the ceremony Tas told her fellow graduates they’ve all completed the necessary skills to become great firefighters.
“We became a close-knit group of people who I know would have my back if it ever came down to it,” she said. “Each of us came from a different background yet we formed a brotherhood of men and women trying to make a difference in the community.”
Josh Gaines, 21, is joining the Schererville department. He said his father was a firefighter and has been around it “all my life.”
“It feels great to hold the certifications and have the knowledge and training they’ve given us,” he said.
Gaines said he plans to continue to train and better himself as a firefighter and EMT.
In his speech during the ceremony Martin said he was proud and honored to teach an academy class with such promise.
“If you ever need anything do not hesitate to ask for you are all now my brothers and sisters,” he said. “Thank you, good luck, stay well and most important stay safe.”