On July 11, 2013, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service held its largest Recruit Class graduation ceremony in the County’s Fire Service history. Certificates for completion of the 26-week Firefighter and Rescuer training program were awarded to 70 graduates of Recruit Class 37 during the 1:00 p.m. ceremony held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg.
County Executive Isiah Leggett, Councilmember Phil Andrews, Fire Chief Steven Lohr and President of the Montgomery Career Firefighters Association, Local 1664, Jeffrey Buddle delivered remarks to the class, and an auditorium filled with their families and friends.
“The dedication and sacrifice of firefighters really came to the forefront during the attacks of 9/11, and now again with the loss of the 19 elite ‘Hotshot’ firefighters in Arizona,’ said County Executive Leggett. “While this is a time to celebrate your achievements, this is also a time to remember how much will be demanded of you. On behalf of the County, we are all so grateful - in advance - for the extraordinary service you will provide to our citizens throughout your careers.”
“You haven’t just joined a fire department, you’ve joined a family,” said Chief Lohr. “As a member of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, you will never be alone, there will always be someone with you during any challenge you may face. You’ve learned from the best and we will now expect the best from you.”
This year, for the first time, the Chief Thomas Carr Leadership Award was presented to the member of the class who best represented the ideals and leadership of former Montgomery County Fire Chief Thomas Carr who recently lost his battle with MSA, a form of Parkinson’s disease. The winner, one of four recruits nominated by the training academy staff and voted on by class members, was Firefighter Andrew Tuzzio.
There were over 1,000 candidates who applied to Recruit Class 37. Eighty-three were accepted into the training program. Seventy successfully graduated and have now joined the highly-respected ranks of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.