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Fire department welcomes graduates
Two others promoted at ceremony
graduation 1 jd
Fire Chief Danny Bowman, right, swears in six firefighters, from left, Michael Cochran, Brian Kozikowski, Jonathan Lent, Kevin Maceri, David Marden and Stephen Tabaka during a ceremony Friday night. - photo by Jim Dean

They’re affectionately known as the "Six Pack."

But in a ceremony marking their graduation from training, Forsyth County’s latest crop of rookie firefighters were commended for taking their new careers seriously.

The six men were joined Friday night at the Central Park Recreation Center by Forsyth County Fire Department officials, as well as family and friends.

The ages of the graduates — Michael Cochran, Brian Kozikowski, Jonathan Lent, Kevin Maceri, David Marden and Stephen Tabaka — range from 21 to 35. Their backgrounds also vary.

Some have previous firefighting and emergency medical experience, while one of the men served in the U.S. Army. Most also have attended college.

Fire Capt. Brian Wilson, who served as the lead fire instructor for the 2011 recruit class, spoke highly of the graduates.

Of 100 applicants, he said, they were the only ones to complete the 12 weeks of training required before becoming a probationary firefighter, or "probie."

"This was a very successful recruit class that actually retained all six candidates," Wilson said. "Fire recruits are subjected to very stressful physical and mental conditions, trying to simulate what it will be like trying to respond to real world incidents.

"We usually have one or two per class who drop out of the program due to the simple fact that not everyone has what it takes to be a firefighter."

He said in addition to picking a name for their class, members chose the words "pride, courage and brotherhood" as their words of motivation throughout training.

"They are truly a six pack," Wilson said. "I could not be more proud of them as a team."

Fire Chief Danny Bowman addressed the group before leading it in the firefighter’s oath of office.

"These men must live by the vow that a coward dies a thousand deaths," Bowman said. "A fireman dies but once."

Johns Creek Deputy Fire Chief Pat Wilson was the guest speaker.

He recalled his early days as a firefighter and reminded the graduates they have an obligation to their family, faith, friends and fire service at all times.

"When you leave here tonight, your journey is only beginning," Wilson said. "You all control your destiny. Your horizon is going to be bright if you allow it to be.

"Don’t get caught up in negative situations, stay steady to your course … set your goals and set them high."

He challenged the recruits to keep their minds open to learning and to be strong leaders.

Also during the ceremony, Fire Inspector Edward Siggelkow was promoted to captain and deputy fire marshal. Firefighter/paramedic Robert B. Styles was promoted to lieutenant.

Siggelkow has worked with the fire department since 2006, while Styles was hired in 2001.

"It was just a wonderful evening," Siggelkow said of the ceremony, adding that the graduates are "in for a lifelong, exciting experience."