Badge pinning ceremony for new Fortuna firefighters

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Eleven members of the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department were honored during a badge pinning ceremony at the Fire Hall on May 10, 2012.

In addition to the recognition, Fortuna Fire Chief Lon Winburn announced that for the first time in 15 or 20 years, the department has full membership.

Receiving badges for completing the Eel River Valley Fire Academy training were Lawrence Crofutt and James Silva of Fortuna Fire Department Company 2, Paul Bias, Kevin Farmer, Jon Lippincott, Edward Peeples, Tim Smith, and Monica Willburn from Company 3; Ron Grimm and David Hughes from Company 4, and Travis Mendes from Company 5.

Expressing his congratulations, Fortuna Mayor Doug Strehl said, "The people of Fortuna have a great group of men and women who represent the city." And he added, "We have one of the best trained Volunteer Fire Departments in California."

The Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department members receiving recognition are graduates of the 4th year of the Eel River Valley Fire Academy. According to Assistant Fortuna Fire Chief Rus Brown, most, if not all fire departments in the Eel River Valley send their new members to this training. "These students in front of you," he told the gathering, "have completed 64 hours of training on topics including search and rescue, ventilation, ropes and knots, forcible entry, building construction, and firefighter safety." He also acknowledged three of the students for 100 percent attendance: Ed Peeples, Monica Willburn, and Ron Grimm.

Assistant Chief Brown was one of the instructors at the Fire Academy and he said, "This year's class was fun to teach, but more fun to watch the students learn, overcome, and succeed. I am proud of them" he continued, "and I look forward to working side by side with each and every one of them."

Prior to each new volunteer taking the oath of office Fortuna Fire Chief Winburn said, "It is a great honor to have this opportunity to swear in these recruits." Each firefighter repeated "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of California and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge my duties as firefighter, upholding the mission, vision, and values of the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department to the best of my skills and abilities, so help me God."

"I am extremely proud of all of you," Chief Winburn said. "It is our goal to pass on the culture of fire service to all of you," he told the new firefighters, and he concluded with outlining his expectations: "Keep your priorities in order ... family and work before fire department. You're no good to us if you're not supported by your family," Chief Winburn said, "yet when we do get you, we expect 100 percent."

photo captions:

Photos by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

1. A 2012 graduate is pinned by his daughter at a recent FVFD pinning ceremony held at the Downtown Station in Fortuna.

2. A proud FVFD graduate father pins his son at the recent pinning ceremony, where the volunteers went through extensive training to receive their pins.