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Press Releases / 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2003


Class is One of the Most Diverse to Graduate the Fire Academy in Recent History

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 292 Probationary Firefighters. The new Firefighters, or "Probies," have successfully completed the rigorous 12-week training program at the FDNY Training Academy located on Randall’s Island. Today's class is one of the most diverse to graduate the Fire Academy in recent history and four of today’s graduates are female – the largest number of female firefighters to graduate the academy in over 20 years. Several hundred friends and family members joined the Mayor and Commissioner to congratulate the last class of 2003 at the ceremony held at Brooklyn College.

"These new firefighters today join a department whose members protect this City day in and day out with courage, dignity and excellence," Mayor Bloomberg said. "Twenty-seven months ago today, the FDNY met its greatest challenge, evacuating 25,000 people from the world trade center with the courage and professionalism that won admiration from people around the world. The Department lost 343 men that day, and we honor them as well by rebuilding this great department in their memory. The Department is also becoming more diverse, with 20 percent of this class made up of minority graduates. I congratulate our newest firefighters on becoming New York’s Bravest and know they will serve the people of New York well."

"I want to congratulate all of the graduates here today. You have successfully completed the first step in your careers as firefighters," said Commissioner Scoppetta. "However, the training does not end here. As you enter the firehouse, you take with you the foundation that was built by your instructors at the Fire Academy. A foundation that you will build upon each time you are called to serve the people of the City of New York."

While in training at the Fire Academy, the "Probies" learned firefighting techniques such as basic engine and truck operations, fire suppression and containment, hazardous materials training, and terrorism awareness. The "Probies" will now be assigned to firehouses throughout the City of New York, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers. In keeping with tradition, the class-donated money to a number of FDNY related charities, such as the NY Firefighter Burn Center and the FF. James O’Shea Memorial Fund.

Probationary Firefighter Thomas J. Bendick earned the honor of today’s class Valedictorian, and Probationary Firefighter Joshua H. Potter was the class Salutatorian.
The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Joshua M. Dacosta.

Contact: Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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