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A firefighter was promoted to lieutenant and five former cadets became full-fledged firefighters at Mission City Hall last week.
On Thurs. Jan. 16, Mission Fire Chief Gilbert Sanchez led a pinning ceremony for six newly promoted civil servants. He spoke highly of the dedication and effort it takes to become a firefighter.
“They’ve gone through a year-long process as entry-level firefighters, and [there is] also a promotion from one of our engineers to lieutenant,” Sanchez said. “This ceremony is to honor those individuals and their accomplishments in regards to what it takes: the testing and experience.”
First to be pinned was Lieutenant Robert Montoya. Sanchez spoke on the duties of a lieutenant and what his new position entails.
“A lieutenant is in charge, pretty much, of a station and a crew,” Sanchez explained. “Lieutenant Montoya has been within our department for 13 years already and has gone through the promotions from firefighter to engineer and now lieutenant, and hopefully he will be continuing his goals and promotions within our department.”
Next, firefighters Randy Alvarez, Dina Garcia, Arturo Lerma, Carlissa Reyna and David Rodriguez were pinned.
Their families, friends and peers were present as they celebrated their progression into the next phases of their careers in civil service. City officials also joined in the ceremony, including Mayor Armando O’caña and City Manager Randy Perez.
O’caña, a former fire chief himself, was glad to see even more people join the ranks of the Mission Fire Department.
“You probably already know that Mission has been a very progressive city the last two or three years, and we’re going to continue doing that, we’re going to grow,” O’caña said. “As we grow we need more police, more firefighters and so forth.”
O’caña referenced his history as a public servant, thanking the families for remaining understanding when their loved ones serve the city.
“Bear with us as we go along with growth with growing pains,” O’caña said. “But they’re great pains to have.”
Perez echoed the sentiments of growth in Mission, saying it was great to hold promotional ceremonies at the city.
“We are advancing and we have opportunities for these young men and women,” Perez said. “Most importantly they’re part of our city of Mission family, and so we appreciate everything that they do for us, we appreciate the department and everything they do because our citizens count on them day in, day out.”
Perez thanked not only the firefighters, but their families for the support they give and the sacrifices that come with the job.
“Everyone is in comfort in their homes knowing that they do have the protection of our department,” Perez said. “It does take a lot of time away from family, and we appreciate that. We are all a family, we care for each other and at the end of the day we want everyone to go home safely to their families.”
This article originally appeared in the Friday Jan. 24, 2020 issue of the Progress Times.