Nine Berkeley firefighters were sworn into new jobs Friday in a badge pinning ceremony held at the Berkeley Rep Theatre.
Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor presented the newly promoted firefighters with their badges which were then pinned by family members and close friends. The ceremony was well attended by supporters of the newly promoted public servants and was rounded off with refreshments and celebratory cake. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, Interim City Manager Christine Daniel, and councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Laurie Capitelli were also in the audience.
Each of the promoted firefighters spoke of their pride in working for BFD and the support they had received from individual members of the department.
Colin Arnold, a newly appointed Apparatus Operator, thanked the citizens of Berkeley for “constantly finding new ways of keeping this job exciting and giving us new things to learn.”
New Fire Captain Warren Davis also thanked Berkeleyans: “Our citizens support us when it comes time with their checkbooks. They want a good fire department. They vote for us on ballot measures. They’re there for us. That says a lot.”
Firefighting is often a family affair, and two newly promoted firefighters spoke of how their immediate families had helped them to get where they were today. Lieutenant Keir Rankin said he had decided at age 18 to become a firefighter to follow in his father Ken Rankin’s footsteps. And newly promoted Paramedic Supervisor Rachel Valenzuela thanked her four children for being “flexible” in dealing with two parents in the department and their “crazy” schedules. Gratitude was also expressed to her parents for watching the kids, often at short notice.
Many of the firefighters who spoke conveyed to what extent the department was like a second family to them. Lieutenant Keith May said he thanked his “brothers and sisters” who were at the ceremony, as well as those who were not.
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