Newton County graduates 14 firefighters
NEWTON COUNTY, GA - Anthony Roy’s family grew Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, when his second son was born that morning. The U.S. Army veteran then picked up a few more of what he labeled family members when he graduated as part of Newton County Fire Service’s 16th recruit class inside the Newton County Historic Courthouse that same evening.
One-18-18 was a big day for Roy and 13 other former fire service recruits as they wrapped up a 24-week long training process to become part of Newton County’s Fire Services.
Meredith Biles, Brock Boldin, Cody Cullen, Quenten Dalton, Jacob Frazier, Bradley Free, Dorean Generals, Noah Green, Clay Hayno, Austin Lindsey, Cody Madsen, Roy, Kyle Strange and Matthew Waits had their Newton County badges pinned on them by family membersduring a ceremony hosted by Chief Michael Conner and attended by Chairman Marcello Banes, commissioners Stan Edwards, Lanier Sims and Ronnie Cowan and County Manager Lloyd Kerr.
“We were proud to graduate 14 top-notch recruits to the rank of firefighter,” Conner said. “With the addition of these 14 new firefighters it will help in the delivery of the services we provide our citizens.”
The recruits started their journey to become Newton County Firefighters in August going through a vigorous training program, including nine weeks completing EMT classes and practical testing. The last 15 weeks were firefighter training to meet National Professional Qualifications Firefighter 1 and 2, along with Hazmat Awareness and Operations certification. In total, the recruits completed 936 hours of training that met and exceeded both state and national standards.
“Recruits completed all lecture, hands on, and live fire training, along with some of the most up to date fire behavior classroom and live fire demonstrations available, said David Harper, who oversaw the training. “Recruits were literally able to witness current live fire behavior at an arm's length away from them.”
Harper’s job during training was to make sure the new recruits could handle not only the physical aspects of the job but the mental stresses of a life in public safety. During Thursday’s ceremony, Harper wasn’t yelling at the recruits any longer but welcoming them as a fellow firefighter and continuing to instill his message.
“You guys are brothers and this job will place demands on you and your family,” Harper said to the graduating class. “You need to make honor, duty, character and commitment your way of life. For the rest of your life, no matter what the world throws at you, your job, family, anything I want you to think back to what you’ve done — 24 weeks of me yelling at you, harassing you, being overbearing and always telling you that you can do it. You’ve proven it to yourselves there is nothing coming your way in life that is harder than anything you’ve done.”
The new recruits will begin on shift starting Monday, Jan. 22 with six working on C-shift, four joining A-shift on Tuesday, Jan. 23 and four on B-shift, Wednesday, Jan. 24. All the recruits will continue to learn from their fellow firefighters as their careers progress with the Newton County Fire Services.