FAIRFIELD — Thirteen firefighters who completed a new joint Fairfield and Vacaville Recruit Academy were welcomed into the fire service Friday with a badge-pinning ceremony that included the words of a Vacaville captain: “This is not the end of your training but the beginning of the next step of your learning.”
“It has been said that heroes are ordinary people who perform extraordinary tasks,” Fire Capt. Gary Mahlberg also said at the event at the Fairfield Center for Creative Arts.
Fairfield Battalion Chief John Sturdee spoke about the high standards firefighters had to meet and said a “C” grade wouldn’t do because “an average firefighter is just not acceptable.”
Vacaville Mayor Steve Hardy recalled graduating 50 years ago from the San Francisco Police Academy and thanked families for attending the Friday event.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to have you here,” he said.
Mothers, fathers, wives and children went on the stage at the downtown theater to help pin badges on the firefighters.
Jeff Ryder, battalion chief for the Vacaville Fire Department, said the joint academy has worked out well.
Brian Blauser, a firefighter-paramedic and one of the 13 participating in the badge-pinning ceremony, spoke about how the group put ego and pride aside daily to look out for one another during their training.
Blauser said he paraphrased the late Lou Gehrig to note that “today we feel like the luckiest men of the face of the earth.”
Rory Dorrough, a retired battalion chief for Fairfield, attended the event where his son Rex, a third-generation firefighter, had his badge pinned. The elder Dorrough went through the same ceremony in 1984.
Grant and Patricia Blauser traveled from Nampa, Idaho to see their grandson and firefighter Brian Blauser participate in the event.
“We’re just very, very proud of him,” Patricia Blauser said.
Ryan LaRowe, Mike Mulliken, Jesse Lawler, Carson Larsen, Drew Battaglia, George DeJesus, Danny Torres, Nick Rubin, Kyle Williams, Josh Thoming and Cory Stinnett are also in the class and had badges pinned Friday.
Fairfield Fire Chief Tony Velasquez said of the new firefighters that they could have done anything with their lives.
“They chose to be public servants – an honorable career,” the chief said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.