46th Fire Fighter Recruit Class GraduatesAugust 14, 2019, 7:51 AM HST (Updated August 14, 2019, 7:51 AM)
The Hawai‘i Fire Department held commencement exercises for its 46th Fire Fighter Recruit Class on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Nani Mau Gardens Garden Court Restaurant in Hilo.
The new firefighters are Austin Bello, Ralph Carreiro Jr., Paul Daub, Dalon Freitas, Steven Grosskreutz, Leina‘ala Hall, David Huddy, Michael Jutt Jr., Bronson Kobayashi, Talmadge Magno II, Genesis Marks, Garrett Nicolaisen, Aaron Norris, Lahaina Olsen-Kuroda, Keenan Parker, Tyler Rock, Kawika Roman, Channing Souza and Chad Wissing.
The class underwent months of intensive instruction/classroom exercises and fieldwork. These included fire and rescue training that included a nationally recognized fire science curriculum, wildland fire training, rescue operations familiarization, aquatics competency certification, hazardous materials response, and driver training.
The end of their firefighter recruit training was spent at the Emergency Medical Services Training Center, where they earned their Emergency Medical Technicians Basic certification.
The entire EMT program was approximately 10 weeks long, and included four weeks on clinical rotations on HFD and AMR ambulance units around the island, as well as at the Emergency Room, Obstetrics, and Intensive Care Units at Hilo Medical Center and Kona Hospital.
Guest speakers at the commencement ceremony included Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim, Deputy Fire Chief Lance Uchida, Big Island HFFA representative Charlie Spain and Recruit Training Officer Chas Taketa.
Each speaker emphasized on the value of training received, dependability, professionalism, safety, pride, about family and being there for the community.
Excerpts from the speakers:
Hawai‘i evolved over the years, HFD is very well respected—thank you for making this commitment to be a part of this.
You are starting a career that will put your life on the line for your family, for your community.
To the families of the graduates: There will be times when they will come home back from an ugly scene. You will need to have an open understanding of the expense of their jobs.
Recruit Training Officer Chas Taketa spoke of the perseverance.
“Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success,” said RTO Taketa.
RTO Taketa spoke about the classroom training, physical training as well as the multiple obstacles that occurred from the beginning of their journey, such as the cancellation of the agility exam due to the false missile alarm; the 5.0 and 6.9 magnitude earthquakes that interrupted the interview process; Leilani Estates-Kīlauea eruption, and of course, Hurricane Lane.
“This never stopped us from training—we trained harder,” he said.
“Another word I’d like to add for you all to live by—humility,” RTO Taketa said. “Never forget where you came from. Never stop learning. This isn’t the end of training, this is the end of recruit training, which is the beginning of the training for the rest of your career.”
Overall, RTO Taketa asked the recruits to remember the journey that got them here. “Stay safe, work hard, love your family, and be a good person in and out of uniform.”
Deputy Fire Chief Lance Uchida posed a question: “How do we continue to provide optimal service? We don’t do it alone. We are able to do what we do because of the love and support from family and friends.”
He also went over three points to the graduating class: “1. Appreciate what you have—your opportunity, your career. You’re fortunate to be here; nothing is owed to you. 2. Be professional on and off duty; say thank you, be respectful; continue to keep practicing and train. 3. Service and beyond: Ask yourself, what can I do better, for my family, for the community, for the department.”
Deputy Uchida concluded, “When you first started, I didn’t say congratulations for being hired. I told you I would say it at graduation and welcome you. Today you all did it. Congratulations.”
The 46th Fire Fighter Class message was delivered by class President Ralph “Ko‘a” Carreiro. He thanked the administration, his instructors and the families. Each and every one contributed to their success in becoming a member of the Hawai‘i Fire Department, he said.
“We close our first chapter today—this chapter was written for us,” Carreiro said. “Now we begin to write our own story, our future with HFD.”
Carreiro stated that this class was the first to train at Pōhakuloa Training Area and the first to train in the Haihai training room and added that the class had to overcome the obstacles, trials and events that took place during the entire recruitment process.
Each of the speakers also addressed the families and friends in the audience whose support and understanding helped to bring the class through the rigorous physical and academic training demands.
Having successfully met the all criteria of their recruit training, the 46th Fire Fighter Class was presented to Deputy Fire Chief Lance Uchida and Assistant Fire Chief Darwin Okinaka and Assistant Fire Chief Robert Perreira, who issued them their badges. As is customary in fire service, the fire fighters then chose a family member or friend to pin their badge on their uniform.