The Edmond Sun

May 6, 2013

9 recruits progress in becoming firefighters

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Nine recruits have begun their journey toward being firefighters in Edmond.

Last week, the recruits in the Edmond Fire Department’s 28th Recruit Academy had a variety of experiences including filling out the usual orientation paperwork, getting acquainted through team building exercises and participating in the traditional funeral procession for Capt. John Werhun.

Collectively, the firefighter recruits said they are excited about a future of serving the citizens of Edmond. They are:

• Dustin Bowman, 21, of Guthrie, where he served two years as a firefighter. Bowman said he is glad he has landed in a city where he plans to have a career;

• Jason Dillon, 26, of Midwest City, who has three years of previous firefighting experience at the Will Rogers Fire Department;

• Johnny Gibson, 32, of Edmond, said he is thankful for the opportunity to serve the community in which he lives;

• Izea Lovejoy, 24, Hilo, Hawaii;

• Taylor Mick, 23, of Bethany;

• Cody Sanders, 23, of Moore, spent four years with the El Reno Fire Department;

• Tyler Smith, 23, of Edmond;

• Jacob Stangl, 25, of Kingfisher; and

• Craig Williamsun, 35, of Charlottesville, Va., who has more than 11 years experience in the fire service.

Neely said the Edmond Fire Department is pleased with the quality of the recruits and excited about what they will bring to the city.

Thursday’s inclement weather forced the planned outdoor activities indoors and the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wellness Center was able to accommodate the recruits, Neely said.

Neely said both team building and communication are essential aspects of being a firefighter. What the recruits learned during their time at UCO will be extremely beneficial during and after the academy, Neely said.  

Edmond Fire Maj. Bill Brown said a recruit’s salary during the academy is $2,847.77 a month and salary after will be $44,857.29 annually. Their salary after one year probation will be $47,100.37 annually. They also will receive a $125 month cleaning allowance as part of their benefits package.

Becka Johnson, UCO’s adventure experience coordinator, led the recruits through a series of team building exercises. Johnson said the ULEAD Challenge Course enhances development of leaders through experiential education emphasizing growth in communication, teamwork, trust and creativity.

Johnson said ULEAD provides each group a unique, fun and challenging experience. The program believes in challenge by choice, while still encouraging each participant to go beyond their normal “comfort zone” and try something new and challenging, she said.

ULEAD provides programs for different needs including public schools, corporations, private parties, churches, home school and sports, Johnson said. Groups have included the Edmond Police Department’s SWAT Team, she said.

The Fire Department recruits performed well in the exercises, and UCO is pleased to once again partner with the City of Edmond, Johnson said.

Neely said the outdoor portion, which includes more team building through low and high elements including a zip-line and pamper pole, will be rescheduled for a later date. | 341-2121, ex. 108