Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue welcomed a dozen new recruit firefighters this week to its team.
Members of Recruit Academy 1501 officially began their training on Monday with a team of instructors led by Lt. Patrick Fale out of Aloha Station 62.
“Starting this academy is one of many investments Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue is making to prepare for the future,” Fale said. “We are able to put this plan into action thanks to voters’ support of our local option levy.”
In preparation for the academy’s launch, the Fire District assembled a team of six experienced TVF&R officers and engineers who spent the past four months firming up the curriculum, coordinating logistics and outfitting the fire station in Aloha to eventually accommodate an additional crew to staff a second engine company from the location.
“All of the engineers and officers who have been chosen for this program are here for the recruits,” Fale said. “We have the right team. We’re fit, we’re ready to set the right example, and now we are ready to execute.”
Training Division Chief Brent VanKeulen agreed and added, “Our goal for this class is the same we have for every academy - creating really great firefighters who will serve with the same high level of compassion and commitment our community has come to expect from TVF&R."
Academy Class 1501 is comprised of recruits with varying levels of experience, including two former TVF&R volunteers, former U.S. Marine Corps veterans, career firefighters who served with agencies in other states and candidates with other professional backgrounds.
The Fire District held a ceremony Friday night to welcome the recruit firefighters and their families to TVF&R.
Joshua Hoffas, 27, who served as a Marine for four years, said he was excited to join his new team. “I’m ready,” he said. “This is the place to be.”
Sonny Mann, 29, who hails from India, moved to the United States in 2002. He began volunteering with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue in 2011. “I’m looking forward to exceeding the academy staff’s expectations,” Mann said of beginning a new journey with TVF&R.
During Friday night’s welcoming ceremony, Deputy Chief Dustin Morrow encouraged recruits to never forget the feelings of anxiety, fear and excitement they were experiencing at that moment, as those same feelings would help fuel their passion for the job in the months and years ahead.
As he welcomed them to TVF&R, Morrow advised recruits to prepare themselves to “learn this craft in a way that contributes to the success of the organization and to the communities that we serve.”
“One of the most exciting things about leading an academy is that these are the future leaders of our organization,” Fale added. “We never lose sight of the fact that they’re not going to be recruits forever. We teach them how to be good followers first then help them to become successful in their future leadership roles. That’s really at the heart of what we do here.”