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Firefighter Academy Graduation Day

Graduation Day was recently held for the fourth class of the Bladen County Firefighter Academy. Cadets from both East Bladen and West Bladen High School were in attendance to receive their certificates, as well as fire officials, school officials, families, and friends.

This year, the East Bladen cadets were led by Chief Tim Tatum, and the West Bladen cadets were led by Chief Billy Driggers. Upon their graduation from the academy, the cadets will only need two state-level classes in order to become a state certified firefighter.

Bladen County Deputy Firemarshall Kenneth Clark highly encouraged the cadets to pursue their state-level firefighter certification. "The country as a whole is experiencing a shortage of firefighters. Each of you sitting here today has a job waiting for you," Clark stated.

The keynote speech was delivered by Greg Palmer of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Office of the State Fire Marshall. In his speech, Palmer reminded cadets to take care of themselves both physically and emotionally. "Firefighting is a stressful but rewarding job. Remember that not only are you saving lives, but you should also save and protect yourself," Palmer said.

The night concluded with the presentation of the certificates to the cadets. The fourth graduating class of cadets was:

From East Bladen: Ramon Ponce, Grayson Clark, Kenneth Bowen, Cody Atkinson, Brady Hollingsworth, Nathaniel Henthorne, Alexander Reason, and Connor Pate

From West Bladen: Travis Butler, Cammeron Collins, Steadman Davis, Zachary Everitte, Wilmer Garcia, Drew Harris, Nathan Kinlaw, Nathan Landreth, Edwin  Martinez Flores, Lucas Nance, David Pait, Joel Russ, Andrew Smith, Jared Storms, and Hysaan Wooten

Congrats to all of the graduates!