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PR- 223-05
June 8, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 231 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 am pleased to welcome today's 231 graduates to the world's greatest fire department," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Day in and day out, New York's Bravest face the most extreme challenges to protect their fellow New Yorkers.  The Department's professional and courageous firefighters last year kept fire deaths at the lowest level they've been in 85 years, and we are committed to providing them with the best equipment, training, and support so they can do their jobs even better.  I congratulate today's graduates and am confident that they will put their training to good use and serve this City with bravery and dedication."

"Today you join the ranks of those proud to wear the uniform and serve this City," said Commissioner Scoppetta.  "Your careers begin today, but your learning and training never ends. The next lessons will come as you enter the field. Learn from the experienced and dedicated firefighters around you.  Use those lessons wisely to build on the foundation that has been provided to you by your instructors at the Academy. Today is the start of something incredibly special. Serve the people of New York well."

Among today's graduates is one woman, Probationary Firefighter Daiana Mielnik who follows in the footsteps of her sister, Firefighter Kinga Mielnik.  Firefighter Kinga Mielnik, a two-year veteran of the Department is assigned to Engine Company 282 in Borough Park, Brooklyn. They are the only "sister-sister" firefighter team currently in the department and only the second in the history of the FDNY. 

Also among today's graduates is Probationary Firefighter Brian Flanagan - a fourth generation firefighter who follows his father, grandfather and great grandfather into the Department. Collectively, the Flanagan family has more than 100 years of service in the Fire Department. Probationary Firefighter Flanagan's great-grandfather John served from 1907 to 1951. His grandfather Thomas served from 1947 to 1975 and his father Kevin has been with the Fire Department since 1977.

Today's class also featured 13 firefighters who previously served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. They include Probationary Firefighters Glen Berg, Vincent Brennan, Jason Brezler, Edward Chan, Brian Doyle, Kevin Grace, Jr., Terrence Lorino, Brendan Martinez, Jason Porzse, Erick Pound, Christopher Raguso, Sean Schneider and John Yordinsky. Also graduating were four firefighters whose loved ones were among the 343 firefighters who gave their lives on September 11, 2001.

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. 

Prior to graduation, the probationary firefighters created a fund to raise money to purchase cooling vests to send to Fire Department members currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The class raised more than $1,000 to purchase 10 vests. Cooling vests are specially designed to fit under the desert camouflage uniform shirt and maintain a temperature of about 58 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes. The vests and neck cooler are submerged in cool water, wrung out and special cooling packs are inserted into pockets on the front and the back of the vest.

Probationary Firefighter Kenneth Bello earned the honor of today's class Valedictorian, and Probationary Firefighter Michael Ober was the class Salutatorian.  The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Kelly Coyle.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Francis X. Gribbon   (718) 999-2056

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