The Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department welcomed 14 new recruits, one Explorer, and announced six promotions at a badge-pinning ceremony on Thursday. Pictured, back row, from left: Robb Foley, Robert Anderson, Floyd Peterson, James Cuhna, Zach Bayne, Jeremiah Covington, and Derek Hoffman. Front row, from left: Kelli Spiers, Cody Constantine, Jayme Clark, and Carrie McCLelland. (Mary Bullwinkel, the Times-Standard)
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Fourteen new recruits were welcomed in to the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department on Thursday, and at the same time, promotions for six department volunteer were announced. One new Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Explorer was also introduced at the badge pinning ceremony held at the Fortuna Fire Hall.

Fire Department volunteers Robb Foley and Tanner Mendes were promoted to first lieutenant, and Cody Waddell, Gannon Chapman, Kelli Spiers, and Chad Gibbs were promoted to second lieutenant.

New recruits are Carrie McClelland to Company 1; Zachary Cook, Jeremiah Covington, and Violet Thomas to Company 2; Zachariah Bayne, Jayme Clark, James Cuhna, and Tiffany Timmons to Company 3; Ethan Butler, Amber Carter, Julia Hohman, and Floyd Peterson to Company 4; and Robert Anderson and Cody Constantine to Company 5.

One of the new recruits, Robert Anderson, is a fourth-generation firefighter and it was his father, Redway Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Brian Anderson, who pinned Robert’s Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department badge.

Fortuna Fire District Board Chairman Dave Nicholson welcomed the new recruits.

“You have already proven you can do the job but now comes the real test,” he said, urging the new department volunteers to “become a student of the fire service. Take in all you can and never stop learning.”

Nicholson said the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department is committed to helping the new recruits grow their skills and knowledge and become professionals.

“What do we expect in return?” he asked them. “We expect you to maintain a balance in your life between family, work and the fire department.”

Offering advice to those newly promoted, Nicholson said, “My advice to you is to develop your leadership skills and lead by example. Do your best to promote a positive, learning, and fun environment. You may not realize it but you are the glue that holds the organization together.”

To the new Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Explorer, 14-year-old Derek Hoffman, Nicholson said, “I encourage you not to take this opportunity for granted. Pay attention and learn and you will come away with skills and experience that few your age could ever comprehend.

“It’s not just about the firefighting skills you will learn,” he added, “it’s about life skills, the stuff that sticks with you and builds character.”

Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Chaplain Ted Silva offered a prayer for the new recruits.

“Protect each one of them as they go into uncertain incidents and dangers as they fulfill the duties that have sworn here to uphold,” he said. “Give these firefighters clarity of mind to recall the training they have had, (and) give them nerves of steel as they encounter stressors in their routine jobs as a firefighter that most people can never imagine.”

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