A class of 23 cadets made it through our six-month fire academy to become the newest members of the Chattanooga Fire Department.
A graduation ceremony is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Clear Creek Church of Christ, 5612 Hixson Pike.
These firefighters have successfully completed EMT training and mastered a number of other skills, like vehicle extrication, Rapid Intervention Techniques (saving a fellow downed or injured firefighter) and Fire Ground Survival (saving themselves from a fire if they become trapped or disoriented).
This fire academy class is a diverse group, made up of men and women who are eager to serve and protect the citizens of Chattanooga, officials said.
This is the highest percentage of women graduating from a CFD Fire Academy.
The group includes Paige Anderson, Emily Bell and Myrrhande Haskett.
Ms. Haskett played professional women’s basketball oversees in Mexico, Romania and Morocco, where her team won a championship. She retired from pro basketball and joined the fire department.
One of the other recruits, Samuel Seamster, was a football star at Ooltewah High School. He went on to play football in college at Middle Tennessee State University and then went into the NFL. He played for the Dolphins, Saints, Bills, Cowboys and Jaguars as cornerback/defensive back before retiring and joining the fire department.
There are several military veterans in the class:
Thomas Clark (Class President) - Army, Airborne Infantry
Tyler Hansen - Marines, Helicopter crew chief
Joshua Smelser - Army National Guard, Infantry
Austin Mays - Air Force, Medical
There is also a set of twins in this class. Matthew and Michael Miller wanted to join CFD at the same time. They have a farm in the area and they both were on the same elite wildland firefighter crew, responding to wildfires all over the country.
There are several graduates who are carrying on a family legacy, following in their fathers’ footsteps.
Austin Mays’ dad was a senior firefighter with CFD. Jarrad Peace’s father is a retired CFD captain who served the city from 1987-2017. Both retired firefighters will be present at graduation to support their sons.