Wednesday was a night of celebration for 37 newly-minted certified volunteer firefighters. Smiles shown as brightly as their badges.
The men and women from throughout the Lehigh Valley laid down their hoses long enough to accept accolades for passing their Firefighter I class. The graduation ceremony was held in the Lower Macungie Community Center. The six-month, 194-hour course was offered by the Bucks County Public Training Center.
Instruction included skills such as building construction, fire behavior, fire hose and streams, forcible entry, search and rescue, ladders, ropes and knots, ventilation, water supply, self-contained breathing apparatus and wildfires. Graduates were from stations in Lower Macungie, Alburtis, Vera Cruz, Eastern Salisbury, Upper Saucon, Upper Macungie, Western Salisbury, Trexlertown, Woodlawn, Hecktown, Schnecksville, Walnutport, Weisenberg and Han-Le-Co.
Graduates receiving diplomas were congratulated and told that their certification would be recognized nationally, meaning they have met federal standards. However, they also were told that this could be just the beginning of their schooling, because there is much to learn about special situations. They were challenged to continue their learning.
In addition to the serious side of achieving their goals, instructors also took a few moments to hand out awards recognizing the idiosyncracies that emerged throughout the training involving several of the students. A toy tractor was given to one for his frequent references to farming. Another received a Matchbox race car for her need for speed on the way to class. Twin brothers received placards to be worn around their necks so everyone would remember their names.
In the end, graduates were instructed to remember basics including family, safety, fun and friendship.