Graduates (from left, front): Nicholas Arnold, Romeo Dunn, Jacob Figur, Deandre Marshall, and Greg Carr; (left, back) Elizabeth DeBree, Cord Rich, and Jacob Servin

SFSC graduated eight students from its Firefighter Minimum Standards program during the Wednesday, Sept. 13 ceremony at the Highlands Campus in Avon Park. All eight students passed the state certification examination with the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training to become certified firefighters in Florida. 

Receiving their certificates were Nicholas K. Arnold, Gregory M. Carr, Elizabeth M. DeBree, Romeowanya L. Dunn, Jacob A. Figur, Deandre L. Marshall, Cord D. Rich, and Jacob A. Servin. 

Guest speaker Assistant Chief Robert Weech of Polk County Fire Rescue addressed the graduates. “Tonight’s a big night, and you should be congratulating yourself and you should celebrate. But realize this is just a first step in a long, long journey. As you progress in your careers, find balance in life. Obviously, you’re going to strive to be the best firefighter and public service agent that you can be. Also, commit to being the best father, the best mother, the best husband or wife you can be. When you achieve that balance, it will be well worth your while as you move forward in your career.”  

Weech indicated that while hiring at Polk County Fire Rescue, he looks for four qualities in a candidate and asked the graduates to uphold them. “Don’t be afraid to get out there and get your hands dirty and continue to learn new things,” he said. “Make sure your hard work directly correlates to results. Be someone who handles frustration well. I assure you, we don’t always have good days. But the next call deserves that we’re doing our best. So work at being well and a person who deals with frustration well. Also, strive to be a dedicated public service agent. Remember what you’re there to do at all times—serve the public.”  

Four students were recognized for special achievement. They were Jacob Servin for Most Heart, Greg Carr for Most Improved, Nicholas Arnold for Team Player/People’s Leader, and Cord Rich, Most Valuable.  

The Firefighter Minimum Standards occupational certificate program is for applicants who want to pursue a career in fire service but have limited fire training and experience. A cohort of cadets enroll in the Firefighter I course, often with the expectation of continuing through to Firefighter II training. Minimum Standards training is required for volunteer firefighters. Firefighter II training is required for those who wish to be employed as professional firefighters in Florida. 

For more information about the SFSC Fire Science Program, contact the SFSC Advising and Counseling Center at 863-784-7131.