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14 recruits to join Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services

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14 recruits to join Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services
WATCH ABOVE: Two classes of recruits graduated from the Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services program on Friday, with 14 graduates receiving their badges and hats at the Lethbridge Public Library. Sarah Jones has more. – Dec 1, 2023

It was a morning of celebration for 14 new Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Service graduates.

On Friday, men and women from both the spring and fall programs graduated from the extensive training process.

Many, including Kevin Bergeron, went straight from graduation to duty.

“I’m on shift today, started at 9 a.m. and end at 9 p.m.,” he laughed.

Bergeron was one of nine people coming from the fall class, sharing his excitement to join the department and wear the uniform alongside his classmates.

“It feels like a long time coming,” he said. “It’s been a ton of work and it’s humbling to be sitting next to these people that I was sitting with. It truly is an honour.”

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With Joland Schmidt, a fellow graduate from the spring class,  sharing his elation.

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“Lethbridge has a pretty incredible culture as far as the fire department goes,” explained Schmidt. “We look forward to learning from everyone as we continue on, not just the training that we’ve had so far, but we get to continue to learn throughout our careers.

“So we have the basis now and we’re excited to take that and continue.”

Both Bergeron and Schmidt were nominated by their peers for the Kilkenny Award, an achievement that honours the recruit who exemplifies leadership and professionalism in their class.

“It means a ton to be selected for this award,” Schmidt said. “It really could have been anybody in the course. Everyone stepped up.”

Captain of the recruit academy, Jim Anderson says the addition of 14 new grads is big news for the division.

“We have a staffing crunch of sorts, where we got a large demand for firefighters,” said Anderson. “We’re a growing department and we need the numbers. It’s a good support to us for sure.”

The City of Lethbridge is one of the few integrated services in Canada that offers a blended career in fire and EMS.

Applications for the next round of recruits are being accepted with a start date set for April 2024.

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