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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 083-05
March 7, 2005

MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA PRESIDE OVER GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR 143 PROBATIONARY FIREFIGHTERS

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 143 Probationary Firefighters.  The new Firefighters, or "Probies," graduated after completing the rigorous 12-week training program at the FDNY Training Academy located on Randall's Island. Several hundred friends and family members joined the Mayor and Commissioner to congratulate this first class of 2005 at the ceremony held at Brooklyn College.

"I congratulate the latest class of bright and enthusiastic Probationary Firefighters," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Today's graduates join a family of the most professional and courageous firefighters in the world.  The department has grown stronger than ever - taking on new responsibilities in a post-9/11 world, while also driving down the number of fire deaths last year to levels not seen since 1919.  I am confident that our newest firefighters will wear their uniforms with pride and serve their fellow New Yorkers with honor and dedication."

"Congratulations to all of today's graduates.  You have successfully completed the first step in your careers as firefighters and join the ranks of those proud to wear the uniform," said Commissioner Scoppetta.  "The next lessons will come as you enter the field and respond to emergencies under the tutelage of experienced firefighters and officers.  Use those lessons to build on the foundation that has been provided to you by your instructors at the Academy. Train everyday and the learning process never ends. Today is the start of something incredibly special. Serve the people of New York well."

Among today's graduates is Probationary Firefighter Elizabeth Osgood. Firefighter Osgood graduated third in her class, missing the salutatorian recognition by two-hundredths of a point.  Her academic score is one of the best ever received by a female probationary firefighter at the Fire Academy.  Overall, FDNY instructors described the group as "exceptionally smart and motivated," with none scoring below 85 out of 100.

Today's class also featured three firefighters who previously served in the military - Probationary Firefighters Christopher Roberto, Richard Robinson and Joseph Napolitano. Firefighter Napolitano, who was wounded while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps, still carries shrapnel in his body.  Also graduating were four firefighters who lost loved ones in the line of duty, including two whose family members were among the 343 firefighters who gave their lives in the September 11th attacks.

While in training at the Fire Academy, the "Probies" learned 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.

Prior to graduation, the Probationary Firefighter Class organized an emergency blood drive to support the four firefighters, Brendan Cawley, Jeffrey Cool, Eugene Stolowski and Joseph DiBernardo, who were critically injured in January's fatal Bronx fire. More than 100 units of blood were also collected on February 1 in honor of Lieutenants Curtis Meyran and John Bellew and Firefighter Richard Sclafani who died in fires in January.

Probationary Firefighter Robert Cefoli earned the honor of today's class Valedictorian, and Probationary Firefighter Jonathan Ortiz was the class Salutatorian.  The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Joseph S. Drury.







MEDIA CONTACT:


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056




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