LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Fire Department held a socially-distanced graduation ceremony Friday, welcoming eight new firefighters at the Lihu‘e Civic Center’s Mo‘ikeha Building rotunda.
Jarrick Ornellas, Rajan Baliaris-Salvi, Theron Shigematsu, Sean Kubeka, Taoaatua Pou, Chance Bukoski, Kalama Lingaton and John Paul Bolwahnn comprise KFD’s 30th recruit class, which includes three firefighters who will be stationed at the state Department of Transportation Lihu‘e Airport Crash Fire Rescue station.
“We thank you all for being here and allowing us to celebrate under these strange conditions during this important day for our firefighters, their families and our community,” said KFD Chief Steven Goble.
“To our recruits, thank you for choosing this profession and being willing to take this step to serve our community. When you become a firefighter, you’re a firefighter 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. That’s what this community expects of you, whether you are wearing your uniform or not. We’re asking you to sacrifice, and to be there for us all. It’s not something we take lightly, and so we are grateful that you have chosen this path.”
Friday’s ceremony began with an honor guard detail and a transfer of command. KFD Assistant Chief Solomon Kanoho led attendees in the Kaua‘i firefighters prayer, then called upon Mayor Derek Kawakami to address the crowd.
“Becoming a firefighter is a daily choice that shows not just your bravery and strength but, more importantly, your sacrifice and selfless care for others,” said Kawakami.
“It is my honor to congratulate you all on making it through these past months of grueling training. But the hard work has only begun, and on behalf of our county and community, I extend our appreciation and gratitude for making this commitment to public service.”
Lihu‘e Airport Crash Fire Rescue Chief Kendall Lemn also shared remarks.
The ceremony continued with the ceremonial pinning of badges followed by the recruits taking the firefighters’ oath in front of an audience of family members and friends.