Twenty-three recruits from seven Westchester fire departments graduated Friday night from the Westchester County Career Chiefs Fire Academy.

The new firefighters were awarded their certificates during a graduation ceremony held at the Department of Emergency Services. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a scaled-down ceremony was conducted and streamed live for family members and others to observe. The ceremony itself was limited to the recruits, chiefs or commissioners from the seven departments, a few dignitaries and members of the Fire Training Division at DES.

County Executive George Latimer addressed the graduates and noted that they were first fire recruits to contend with the Covid-19 pandemic during their training. Two weeks of their 17-week training were conducted virtually and other protocols were put in place to ensure social distancing and safety.

He told the graduates that they reminded him of his late father-in-law, who had had been a career firefighter. “I see in you what I saw in him – a certain discipline and a certain ability to put yourself out there physically, mentally, emotionally to deal with things that the rest of us don’t deal with and aren’t trained to do. We turn to you for those things.”

Latimer noted that the graduates all successfully passed the National Certification Exams for Firefighter I, Firefighter II, and Hazardous Materials First Responder Operations.  They also all successfully completed the required Candidate Physical Agility Test.

“Firefighter training is both academically and physically demanding,” Latimer said. “I congratulate the graduates for all they accomplished at the Career Chiefs Fire Academy.”

Chief James Seymour of the Scarsdale Fire Department also addressed the graduates and congratulated them for persevering in a unique training environment.

“On behalf of the Westchester County Career Fire Chiefs Association, I would like to first thank all of the staff for another successful academy especially during these unprecedented times.  I would like to congratulation the class 01-2020 and wish them a long, successful, healthy career,” Seymour said.

Richard G. Wishnie, acting commissioner at DES, thanked DES staff and the instructors from numerous fire departments who trained the new firefighters during the 17-week Fire Academy program.

“The fire service and the staff here at DES are committed to providing the most rigorous training possible to prepare firefighters for the job that is ahead. We know these probationary firefighters are prepared to meet the challenges that come with being a firefighter today,” Wishnie said.

The graduates and their departments are:

Eastchester: Jeffrey Hill, James Kellaher, John Carl Navaretta

Harrison: Michael Chiarella

Larchmont: Michael Murnane, John Pilla III

Mount Vernon: Dylan DeMuro, Shane Forbes, Kemar Holness, Gregory Jenkins, Nahteas Murphy, Adrian Nicholson, Gregy Styles

Pelham: Anthony Borsella, Christopher Paolercio

Rye Brook: Alexander Hauryluck

White Plains: Alexander Adamiak, Andrew Gembecki, Scott Kukis, Nicholas Lombardo, Cody Martin, Nathaniel Miller, James Salerno.