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PEABODY ― With the addition of six full-time firefighters, the Peabody Fire Department took a major step forward .
Chief Joseph Daly said the new personnel will go a long way toward helping the department get back to its full complement of staff.
“We’ve always dealt with turnover, but with COVID and fiscal restraints, and the academy being shut down for a time, hiring new personnel has been extremely challenging,” he said. “We have plenty of candidates here, but we are in the same boat as many other departments who are just trying to get through the academy backlog. These six new hires will help out a lot as we are probably facing the loss of another six to retirement in January.”
Geury DeLacruz, Shawn Farrell, Marc Jesi, Daniel Lancaster, Cody Raponi, and Joe Tardiff were sworn in by Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. on Tuesday in a ceremony in front of City Hall. Daly said the firefighters will undergo six weeks of in-house training beginning Monday. Following that, they will each await their turn to train at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow.
“The academy is so backed up, so we are likely looking at some significant delays before they can complete the program and be certified,” Daly said. “Until then, we just have no place to put them, but thankfully while we are shorthanded, we still do have plenty of bodies to man all of our trucks and stations and maintain public safety.”
During the ceremony, Daly emphasized the important role that firefighters’ families play, saying “the role of the family cannot be understated.
“To be successful in this field, each firefighter needs the support of his or her family,” Daly said. “Knowing the business of family life is being tended in their absence enables the firefighter to truly focus on his profession.”
Bettencourt commended the new firefighters for choosing to enter public service, which he described as an admirable career.
“Firefighting is a true calling and we have outstanding men and women in our fire and police departments who work hard to protect our city,” Bettencourt said. “They deserve great credit for the skill and professionalism they demonstrate every day on our behalf.”
Bettencourt told the new firefighters that they are joining an outstanding department filled with honorable men and women who continue to devote themselves to public safety. He added that he believes they have what it takes to be successful and have rewarding careers.
“By doing the right things in your lives, doing well on the civil-service test, and working to improve your skills, you have put yourselves in the position of joining that distinguished group of Peabody firefighters,” Bettencourt said. “I thank you for taking on this challenging responsibility and I congratulate each of you for your hard work and dedication.”
Daly echoed Bettencourt’s sentiments.
“Firefighting is a very demanding profession, to the firefighter and their families as well,” Daly said. “It is also a very rewarding profession. There is no better feeling than knowing you were able to help someone when they needed it.
“I’m sure this has been a long journey for each of you and I’m sure you believe that this is a dream that’s come true. I only hope you will still have that feeling 30 years from now, like I have.”