At a glance
The Forsyth County Fire Department’s newest recruits include: Jeremiah Anderson, Claude Barrett, William Burtle, Shawn Corrigan, Daniel Delashmit, Brian Hampton, Christopher Harlacher, Benjamin Hedges, Roy Padgett, Michael Sierra, Tyler Smith, Timothy Surguy and Jeffrey Weaver.
Family and friends joined the Forsyth County Fire Department recently for a special ceremony to honor its newest recruits.
The class, nicknamed the “Thirteen Machine,” recently completed a 12-week course. Each of the men will serve as a probationary firefighter, or “probie,” for about a year.
“I’ve been in the fire service since 1978,” said Training Division Capt. David McWhorter. “In that time I’ve had the opportunity to teach a lot of classes. This has been a good one.”
The graduation, the fire department’s first since 2007, was held Friday night in the new banquet room at the Central Park Recreation Center.
McWhorter said 60 of the department’s firefighters either taught or helped teach the classes, which covered professionalism, hazardous materials and firefighting.
All of the recruits, who ranged in age from their 20s to 40s, entered the program with emergency management technician experience.
Fire Chief Danny Bowman swore in the recruits as firefighters, presenting them with certificates and new shields to put on their helmets.
Individual honors were also awarded.
Jeffrey Weaver was selected by his fellow classmates for the Brant Chesney Award.
The honor pays tribute to Chesney, a part-time Forsyth County firefighter and career Gwinnett County firefighter who died in December 1996 when a burning building collapsed on him.
Training Division Chief Lee Parker explained that Chesney was known for his love of teaching.
“Whether teaching a child at an elementary school the simple process of stop, drop and roll or a classroom of fellow firefighters, teaching the complicated rescue techniques, his enthusiasm was larger than life,” Parker said.
“Brant was never satisfied until you knew everything that he knew. He selflessly passed on his knowledge, skills and time to anyone he could.”
The award goes to the recruit who is always helping others and giving time and effort to his classmates, Parker said.
Weaver was humbled by the recognition.
“It’s a very big honor and I appreciate them thinking of me in that way,” Weaver said.
Chris Harlacher received the academic excellence award, while the award for physical fitness went to Daniel Delashmit.
The award for most improved physical fitness went to Tyler Smith. Ben Hedges was chosen by his classmates for the perseverance award.
The class also presented a film it made that included footage of the training throughout the 12-week course.