On March 19, 2015, seven City Council-approved recruits began their journey to become part of an elite team of public safety professionals with the Elk River Fire Department.
The training room was filled with the excitement and nervous energy of the new recruits as they received their training materials and uniforms. During introductions, each was asked why he wanted to be a firefighter. The answers included family tradition, giving back to the community, wanting to help others, embarking on a new adventure, and wanting to be respected and looked up to as a hero.
The first day of training was a department introduction and a discussion of Elk River firefighter expectations and their future as a firefighter. “As of today, you are a firefighter, a title which you will carry for the rest of your life,” said fire chief, T. John Cunningham.
Recruit training includes the customs, traditions, and history of firefighters. “Tradition needs to be passed on. If not, traditions die” explained Andover fire chief, Jerry Streich, who is a certified Fire Academy instructor.
Elk River Mayor John Dietz welcomed the new recruits to city service and shared with them the importance of public safety and teamwork. City Administrator Calvin Portner was also on hand to talk about city government, policy management, and organizational structure.
Recruits will complete 23 weeks of hands-on and classroom training. This is the second Fire Academy for the Elk River Fire Department. It is the only such program in the county and one of a few statewide.
We will follow the new recruits Trent Collins, Michael Kaden, Michael Kelleher, Philip Luitjens, Justin Ryti, Anthony Seibert, and Kenneth Tietz over the next several months to give you the opportunity to experience their journey. Watch for photos and videos to be posted on the Elk River Fire Department social media pages and the city website.