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PR- 058-07
February 22, 2007


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 194 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. Among today’s graduates are 23 veterans of the US military, 11 of whom served in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Several hundred family members and friends joined the Mayor and Commissioner to congratulate the first class of 2007 at the ceremony held at Brooklyn College.

“I am proud to welcome you into the ranks of the greatest fire department anywhere in the world,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “And to tell you that we are continuing to make the investments that will keep the FDNY the greatest fire department in the world. For the past 143 years, New York’s Bravest have risked their lives to protect millions of New Yorkers and set the standard in firefighting and rescue operations.”

“The foundation of the New York City Fire Department lies in a bond among members that cannot be broken,” Fire Commissioner Scoppetta said. “It is this bond, forged in sacrifice and dedication, that will help ensure the security of this great City and guide you through your careers. As you report to firehouses throughout the City, remember this is where the real education begins.”

Among today’s graduates are Probationary Firefighter Maura Fitzsimmons, whose firefighter sister, Michele, was promoted to Lieutenant last week; and Probationary Firefighter Steven Hay, whose father is FDNY Assistant Chief Allen Hay of Safety Command.  Probationary Firefighter Luke Allen’s brother, Richard, and Probationary Firefighter Raymond Murphy’s father, Raymond Sr., were members of the FDNY when they made the supreme sacrifice on Sept. 11, 2001.

This class represents multiple branches of the armed forces, with 23 members having previously served in the U.S. military: Yaniv Amar (USMC), Edward Bergen (Navy), Leonard Burgmyer (Army), Michael Chernyak (USMC), Christopher Ford (USMC), James Cahill (USMC), Timothy Whalen (USMC), William Benner (USMC), Steven Hay (USMC), Godwin Chery (USMC), John Lawton (Coast Guard), Sean O’Grady (USMC), Rory O’Flaherty (Army), Stephen Marley (USMC), Timothy Melia (USMC), Nelson Merizalde (USMC), Matthew Moritz (Navy), Eric Mussinan (Army), Shawn Whelan (Coast Guard), James Denniston (Coast Guard), Ramon Ramos (Army), Daniel Saalfrank (Air Force) and Eric Surbito (USMC). Probationary Firefighters Bergen, Burgmyer,  Chernyak, Marley, Melia, Merizalde, Moritz, Mussinan, O’Flaherty, O’Grady and Surbito served part of their time in the military in Iraq.
The Mayor congratulated Probationary Firefighter Kevin McCabe for being today’s class valedictorian. Probationary Firefighter James DeVito was the class salutatorian. The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Thomas Bradley. 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, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958


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

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