CLINTON — In its inaugural season, the Citizen’s Fire Academy sponsored by the Clinton Fire Department has capped off the six-week program by graduating its first 13 students.
Clinton Fire Chief Mike Brown commended the bravery and commitment put forth by the first class of students during a commencement ceremony on Monday at Central Fire Department, adding that without their participation the experimental Citizen’s Fire Academy would not have been a reality.
“It was a really good experience and we had great participation,” he said. “Free time is a precious commodity and there was almost 100 percent participation every week. We couldn’t have asked for a better group to start this academy.”
Among the group were some well known members of the Clinton community, including City Councilman Paul Gassman, Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Nathan Sondgeroth, local business owner Mike Rastrelli and First Baptist Church Pastor Ron Lott, among many others.
Despite their differences, each member of the 2014 recruits had one goal when applying to be part of the first ever Citizen’s Fire Academy -- to learn more about the men and women of the Clinton Fire Department.
Clinton newcomer Colby Davis was recruited to take part in the academy by Brown because of his safety position at Archer Daniels Midland and was quick to accept the offer.
“I work in safety at ADM so this gives me good general awareness and I just wanted to gain some fire safety awareness as well,” Davis said. “I had no idea what all they do so it was really cool to see how much the fire department is responsible for.”
In addition to giving credit to the people who participated in the academy, Brown also commended the members of the fire department who dedicated their free time to orchestrate the program.