The Bridgeport Fire Department added on Friday 22 firefighters from the Connecticut State Fire Academy at a ceremony at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. The commencement address was delivered by Mohammed Khan, the first Pakistani-American firefighter in Bridgeport history. The graduates will be formally sworn in as firefighters at a ceremony at City Council Chambers on December 16.
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The 22 new Bridgeport firefighters represent the diversity of the community–including the very first Pakistani-American firefighter from Bridgeport Mohammed Khan. Most of those in the class are Bridgeport residents, and some are descendants or related to other city firefighters and police officers. This new class also includes some 2nd chance individuals who had previous convictions on their records but were evaluated by a panel under the supervision of Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode and the City Civil Service Commission and deemed suitable to become firefighters. More than $2.7 Million in funding for this new class of Bridgeport firefighters was secured by a federal SAFER grant awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With this new group of firefighters, the Bridgeport Fire Department now stands at full capacity of 288 firefighters. A total of 59 new Connecticut firefighters graduated from the State Fire Academy Friday, with the largest group being from Bridgeport. The graduation comes after 14 weeks of training at the academy which began on August 29, 2016.
“This is a very proud day for Bridgeport,” said Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode. “Each of these young firefighters is eager to serve their community and is embarking on a career in which they will be called upon at a moment’s notice to put their lives on the line for the residents of Bridgeport. I am proud that we have such a diverse group and a new class comprising so many residents of the Park City. These new firefighters will be dedicated to their community and to each other. I am very grateful to Mayor Ganim and his staff as well as our federal representatives in Washington DC for helping us secure the funding that proved critical to enabling us to add this new class of firefighters and keep Bridgeport residents more safe. I look forward to seeing these new probational firefighters out on the job in our neighborhoods!”
New Bridgeport Firefighter Mohammed Khan, the first Pakistani-American firefighter in Bridgeport history, was the commencement speaker at Friday’s graduation. He told his fellow graduates, “Our families and friends should know that today’s graduation marks the end of nothing. It is only the beginning of hopefully long and fruitful careers full of some bad days, but mostly good ones. It is our responsibility to do our best to keep the honor and respect for this job where it belongs, with our heads held high. We have a responsibility to the people we serve, to the cities we represent, and the badge we have the privilege to wear.”
The complete list of Bridgeport graduates from the Connecticut State Fire Academy today includes:
Agim Bungu, Daniel L. Paz, Angel L. Cintron Adalberto Planas Jr., Terrence J. Cramer Jorge A. Quintanilla, Albert Figueroa Jr., Carlos A. Reyes, Justin M. Fontan Jamie Rodriguez Jr., Darryl M. Gardner, Angel L. Rosado II, Kelley Geffert Jorge A. Ruiz Jr., Mohammad K. Khan, Christopher D. Sanchez, Robert Lopez, Jr. Eric Spooner, Jose Munoz, Herman A. Webb Jr., John F. Nuzzi, Jr. Daniel Wresilo.