Twenty-nine cadets from Hancock College Fire Academy Battalion No. 143 were honored during a graduation ceremony Friday morning at the school’s Public Safety Training Complex on the Lompoc Valley campus.
The ceremony served as an acknowledgment that the cadets had met the state and national certification training standards for Firefighter I Certification.
The recruits, who trained at the academy for 624 hours over 17 weeks, showed some of what they learned as they ran fire hoses, doused a burning car and extricated mock victims during a demonstration prior to the ceremony at the complex’s six-story burn tower.
“This is the core of what a community college does. We train public servants,” said Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers. “When you have an emergency and you need the fire department to respond, you want the person showing up to help to be from Allan Hancock College because they have the very best training at the best facilities.”
The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Greg Fish, the chief of the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.
Fish, himself a graduate of Hancock’s fire academy, encouraged the cadets to take on their new roles with tenacity and to continue their educations and become leaders in their departments.
“Every one of you can have a dream career,” Fish said, “but it is going to be hard work.”
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Of the 29 cadets, six had already secured jobs with fire agencies. Three were hired by the Chumash Fire Department in Santa Ynez, two cadets were hired by the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, and one cadet is set to join Cal Fire’s South Bay Fire Department in Los Osos.
Around 20 Hancock College athletes from various sports were honored Tuesday as they committed to play at four-year universities.
“There’s no doubt that we were pushed … to our limits,” said Hannah Ball, the Battalion No. 143 class president. “However, with challenge comes growth, and with that growth comes an appreciation of what it truly means to be a firefighter.”
The full list of graduates from Battalion No. 143 includes: Chase Andersen, Zachary Anzalone, Hannah Ball, Bradley Barnes, Nicholas Bell, Tyler Brooks, Wyatt Esola, Christian Evers, Mathew Fawcett, Daniel Feldtkeller, Rebecca Fischel, Matthew Funderburk, Luis Gutierrez, John Hurtado, Caleb Katches, James King, Derek Masterson, Tyler O’Brien, Bradley Peterson, Cameron Petetit, Sage Ritchie, Casey Robertshaw, Frank Rodriguez, Dustin Sallen, Bailey Sanin, Saeid Sinnukrot, Spencer Smith, Jordan Stewart and David Swenk.