HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Hattiesburg held a graduation for its 21st recruit class. The training lasted for 12 weeks, challenging recruits physically and mentally.
Seven recruits completed the academy, including six men and the city’s first-ever female firefighter.
“The experience, the youth and the diversity of this class is just diverse than any class we’ve had in the past. I think it’s one of our best graduating class. It shows the diversity of our community now, and it’s going to be good for the department going forward,” said Hattiesburg Fire Department Chief Sherrocko Stewart.
Stewart said it’s great to be able to teach at their own academy. It’s just one of a few fire academies in the state able to do so.
“It’s always good when you get an academy class to go through especially here in Hattiesburg, and it’s a great thing to get them here and teach them the way we do things here and show them that community service is number one,” said Stewart.
Mayor Toby Barker said it’s an exciting time for the city to be able grow and add to an already successful department.
“Anytime we grow a new generation of firefighters, they get to learn not only from their instructors but all of the firefighters that came before them, and it’s a family, and I’m excited to see what they will accomplish,” said Barker.
With the addition of seven new graduates, it now puts the Hattiesburg Fire Department at 123 firefighters. The mayor said another recruit class is now in session.