CAPTION – Courtesy Photo
Some of those who completed their firefighter programs.

Graduation ceremonies were held last Saturday at the fire station in Panaca for those who had completed the Firefighter I and Firefighter II programs.

Panaca fire chief and County Sheriff Kerry Lee said there was a good group of people on hand for the ceremonies.

?Several who took the courses got their entry-level firefighter certificate. Six received the Hazardous Material Operations and Awareness certificates, each one separately. In addition, Cameron Boyce and Joseph McLean from Pioche, along with Neil Heiselbetz, Beau Carlson, and Kade Lee of Panaca, all advanced up to Firefighter II.?

A luncheon was held Saturday afternoon for fire department members and family at the station, and the public was invited to attend the ceremonies which were held a bit later in the day.

County Fire District Chief Rick Stever and County Commissioner Nathan Katschke both addressed the graduates and recognized the commitment and time put in to achieve their goals.

?We showed some videos of the training that the students took part in,? Lee said, ?and also gave out certificates of recognition to some of our local EMTs.?

The Firefighter I and II program is a very intensive three-month course, Lee said. ?Quite a bit of it is online work done during the week, including tests, and on the weekends they would come as a group to the fire station in Panaca for the practical, hands-on skills.?

He said the culmination of the course was administered by a state-appointed proctor ?who gave a written test and the practical tests, including live fire testing. Probably one of the most intense three-month training classes we?ve had in quite awhile.? And at the same time, Lee noted, ?It is the first time in eight years that Panaca has graduated a Firefighter I class.?

He said he was extremely proud of those who passed the class, ?I wish we could have had, even more, take it, but it is very intense and involved, requiring a great deal of time and commitment. At the same time, these same volunteers are used in answering local fire calls as well, so it does demand a lot of a person.?