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Fire District Holds Swearing In Ceremony

Polk County Fire District No. 1 held a swearing in ceremony at Central High School on Feb. 1.

Polk County Fire District No. 1 held a swearing in ceremony at Central High School on Feb. 1. Photo by Emily Mentzer.

INDEPENDENCE — Polk County Fire District No. 1 Chief Ben Stange said it was an “Eye of the Tiger” kind of moment.

“They’ve been training hard; now they made it,” he said at the Feb. 1 swearing in ceremony for four career firefighter/paramedics, five volunteer firefighters, four lieutenants and one captain.

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The ceremony featured four career firefighter/paramedics, five volunteer firefighters, four lieutenants and one captain.

The ceremony was held in the Central High School auditorium and was filled with people to celebrate the accomplishment of these firefighters as they received their badge and took their oath.

“They are here because what we do matters,” Stange said.

He told stories of a woman whose life was saved by the actions of Independence police officers and Polk firefighters. Because of those actions, the woman was able to spend Christmas with her husband.

Without them, the outcome would have been vastly different, Stange said.

He told another story about a house fire that was out of control. It would be a total loss.

The property owner told the commanding officer, “It’s just stuff. Don’t let anyone get hurt.”

“It was Polk No. 1 moving company,” Stange said, describing how firefighters went to the side of the house that wasn’t on fire yet and pulled out anything they could save. One firefighter found three boxes inside the night stand that contained military medals.

When the medals were given to the property owner, he started crying, Stange said.

“It’s just stuff, but it isn’t,” he said. “If prevention fails at some point, they know what you do matters.”

Career firefighters/paramedics:

TJ Greenhill, Scott Edinger, Alex Ovchinnikov and Jack Westerman IV.

Volunteer firefighters:

Jordan Guevarra, Station 90; Nick Heller, Station 70; Ethan McKinney, Station 70; Charles Prouty, Station 40; Andrew Prouty, Station 40. Charles and Andrew Prouty enabled Station 40 to reopen.

Lieutenants:

Brendan Shellito, Station 90; Rick Fletcher, Station 90; Stephen Hoem, Station 90; Jim Burke, Station 90.

Captain Chad Paoli was also sworn in.

For more information about Polk County Fire District No. 1: www.polk-no1.org/.

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