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PR- 253-08
June 30, 2008


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over a graduation ceremony for 276 Probationary Firefighters. The new firefighters, known as “probies,” graduated after completing the newly expanded, more rigorous 23-week training program at the Department’s Fire Academy located on Randall’s Island. Among today’s graduates were 35 members of the U.S. military, including Probationary Firefighter Christopher Little, who is currently serving his second mission with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq. Several hundred family members, friends and fellow firefighters joined the Mayor and Commissioner to congratulate the first class of 2008 at the ceremony held at the Colden Center at Queens College.

“Today is a proud day for New York City as we welcome 276 probationary firefighters into the ranks of the FDNY,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “You are one of the first classes to receive the exceptional 23 weeks of training at the Academy, and I know it has prepared you for any type of emergency you may encounter. As you move forward in your careers, you will be able to use these skills to make the city even safer for future generations. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to making New York City a better place to live, work and visit.”

“It takes a special kind of person to be a New York City firefighter,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “You have to be able to think clearly and quickly under extreme pressure. You have to be ready to respond to any emergency at any time. Yet what makes this job so challenging, also makes it exceptionally rewarding. Each of you has proven your ability at the Academy and I know you will succeed in the field.”

Probationary Firefighter Little was deployed in early June for a 10-month mission with the Marines, and his family attended the graduation ceremony in his absence. He is one of 35 probationary firefighters who represent every branch of the U.S. military, including: Timothy Austin (Navy), Ricardo Baez (Marines), Terrence Carroll (Navy), Aaron Clark (Marines), Jesse Cole (Army), Rodney Colon (Coast Guard), Matthew Coppeto (Marines), James Cruickshank (Navy), Noel Curry (Navy), Jonathan Edell (Marines), Sean Foster (Navy), James Friedlander (Air Force National Guard), Kenneth Hartmann (Navy), Michael Harvey (Marines), Michael Hurley (Navy), Adam Lazatin (Air Force), David Luciano (Army), Richard Lutz (Army), Robert Merkle (Air Force), Kyle McCormick (Navy), Michael McGovern (Navy), Sean Minton (Marines), Conor Moriarty (Marines), Kyle Nevin (Coast Guard), Lester Peters (Navy), Timothy Proctor (Navy), Bradley Reppert (Air Force), Daniel Rotanz (Army), David Skinner (Air Force), Timothy Smith (Navy Reserve), Eric Swailes (Coast Guard), Jomo Thomas (Marines), Jason Wiese (Marines) and Daniel Zazulka (Army).

The Mayor congratulated Probationary Firefighter Shaun Scheurer for being today’s class valedictorian. Probationary Firefighter Gerard Reilly was the class salutatorian. The Physical Fitness Award was given to Probationary Firefighter Joseph Fronio. Also among the day’s graduates was Probationary Firefighter Matthew Sweeney, whose brother, Firefighter Brian Sweeney of Rescue 1, died in the line of duty on September 11, 2001.

This is the second class to receive the expanded 23-week training program at the Department’s Fire Academy located on Randall’s Island. With the 10 weeks of training added to the previous 13-week program, the Probationary Firefighters learned a variety of firefighting techniques, including hazardous materials training, aimed at increasing firefighter safety. Additional training hours were devoted to engine and ladder operations, fire prevention, building construction and building inspection. The Probationary Firefighters now will be assigned to firehouses throughout the City, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers.

While at the Fire Academy, the Probationary Firefighters raised $800 for Army Ranger Corporal Chris Levy of the 10th Mountain Division, who lost both of his legs while serving in Iraq. The class also sent care packages and phone cards to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps/FDNY Association.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

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

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