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PR- 232-06
July 6, 2006


Today’s Class is One of the Most Diverse; 21% of Graduates from Minority Backgrounds

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 183 Probationary Firefighters.  The new Firefighters, or "Probies," graduated after completing the rigorous 13-week training program at the FDNY Training Academy located on Randall's Island. Today’s class is one of the Department’s most diverse, with 21% of graduates from minority backgrounds. Several hundred friends and family members joined the Mayor and Commissioner to congratulate the second class of 2006 at the ceremony held at Brooklyn College.

“Today you join the proud ranks of New York’s Bravest,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “The training you received at the Fire Academy will serve you well as you move into fire houses across the five boroughs and remember, your training never ends. As you move forward in your careers, you will become the instructors, leaders and senior members of this Department. Everyday, the men and women of the FDNY risk their lives to save fellow New Yorkers. I know you will continue that strong tradition and serve this City well.”

“Parents can only give good advice or put their children on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in his or her own hands,” said Commissioner Scoppetta.  “Our probationary firefighters have chosen courage over complacency.  They have chosen to protect the people and property of this great city.  We will always be grateful for their choice.”

Compared to the previous decade, the Fire Department has nearly tripled its rate of minority hires.  Today’s class is 21% minority with 14% Hispanic, 5% African-American, 2% Asian and one Probationary Firefighter is from a Native American background. 

Among today’s graduates is Woodly Joseph, the brother of Firefighter Karl H. Joseph of Engine 207, who was killed on September 11th. Twenty-three other graduates also have family members in the Fire Department.

In addition, the graduating class raised $1000 to help with the rehabilitation of Firefighter Matthew Long, who was struck by a bus during the transit strike on December 22, 2005 while riding his bicycle to work at the Fire Academy. Firefighter Long was a fitness instructor at the Academy. The class also raised $700 to defer funeral costs for a Fire Academy instructor who experienced the death of a close family member.

This class represents every branch of military service, with 21 members having served in the Armed Forces. These Probationary Firefighters include Michael Scanna (USMC), Christopher Dinapoli (Navy), Kelvi Batista (USMC), Seung Lee (Army), Michael Chappina (USMC), Woodly Joseph (Army National Guard), Thomas McGarvey (Army), Louis Chile (Navy), Pasquale Foresta (USMC), Michael Suo (USMC), Alex Malchevsky (USMC), Andres Flores (Navy), Erwin Arredondo (Army), Eugene Sanchez (Air Force), Michael Reilly (USMC), Gerard McKay (Army), Edward Bergin (USMC), Sergio Claudio (Air Force), Eduardo Martinez (Navy), Andrew Radziewicz (Coast Guard), and Christopher Slow (Army).

While in training at the Fire Academy, the Probationary Firefighters learned firefighting techniques such as basic engine and truck operations, fire suppression and containment, hazardous materials training, and terrorism awareness.  The Probationary Firefighters 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.

Probationary Firefighter Christopher Emmel earned the honor of class Valedictorian, and Probationary Firefighter Andrew Getka was the class Salutatorian.  The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Robert Landon.


Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam   (212) 788-2958


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

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