LIHUE — The Kauai Fire Department grew Friday when 13 new firefighters recruits graduated.
Beginning the ceremony with the firefighter’s prayer, Deputy Fire Chief Kilipaki Vaughan said the men had endured six months of accelerated training.
“Our firefighter recruits will join the fire line effective Sept. 2, 2018,” he said.
Addressing the graduates, Fire Chief Robert Westerman congratulated the graduates on their achievement.
“Mahalo for your willingness to serve our community, residents and visitors and for beginning your journey as first responders,” he said.
During the ceremony, the recruits received badges inscribed with tools of the trade — a helmet, axe, ladder and fire hydrant.
“Our recruits are embarking on their new journey to help others, and may they never give up on this mission to serve our community,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “Congratulations to you and your ohana for surpassing all tests and challenges you’ve had to face in order to achieve this great moment today.”
The ceremony included the recruit class presenting a haa (humility) protocol or dance, meant to showcase the pride, tradition, honor and professionalism of the fire service. This protocol is meant to work hand-in-hand with the Kauai Fire Department honor guard.
The haa was composed by Devin Kamealoha Forrest, brother of Firefighter Chandler Atta Forrest.
The following individuals received badges at Friday’s ceremony: Darren Agustin, Ryan Allen, Makana Denton, Benjamin Ferris, Samuel Higgins, John Jensen, Kyle Kaili, Kauluokala Kauwe, Cy O’Brien, Ryo Shintani, Spencer Taylor-Steik, Jetsen Wakuta and Justin Watts.