Recruit firefighter academy 19-1 — Friends, family and firefighters from Healdsburg, Marin and the Sonoma County Fire District gathered at the Spring Hills Community Church in Fulton on Saturday, June 29 to celebrate the 17 graduates of the Sonoma County Fire District Recruit Firefighter academy 19-1.

The graduation ceremony featured the presentation of colors by Deputy Fire Chief Matt Gustafson and the local honor guard, introductions from Sonoma County Fire District Chief Mark Heine, and an address from academy coordinator Mike Stornetta and the recruit class speaker firefighter Lance Munselle.

Munselle quipped that he was chosen as the class speaker since he’s used to talking in front of a crowd with his previous job as a high school teacher.

President of the local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters Tim Aboudara also spoke and emphasized the importance of family support for firefighters from both the family of the union and that of personal family. He also recognized families’ sacrifice in supporting their recruit to pursue a risky career and one of service to others, which often requires long nights and time away from family.

Heine gave the keynote address and reminded graduates that when they are cold, tired, running through a burning building or when they are simply missing home, that they have the best job in the world.

“Firefighters are often looked to for acts of bravery throughout their career but a quote recently caught my attention that is fitting for the class this morning. In 1908 Edward Crawford, who was the chief of the New York Fire Department at the time said, ‘Firefighting is a hazardous occupation. It is dangerous on the face of it tackling a burning building. The risks are plain, but consequently when a person becomes a firefighter his act of bravery has already been accomplished,’” Heine said.

Following the keynote address awards and recognitions were given out for academy titles such as academics.

The 17 firefighters then got pinned with their badges by family and friends and given the oath of office.

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