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Three firefighters join Lodi department

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Posted: Friday, December 12, 2008 10:00 pm

After going through a rigorous 14-week academy, three graduates joined the Lodi Fire Department on Friday.

The course was so tough that the three lost a combined total of 50 pounds.

But Kris Graves, Nick Kilday and John Rowlands were all smiles Friday as they were sworn in while more than 50 citizens, family members and fellow firefighters watched.

All said they went into the field to help people, and Fire Chief Mike Pretz reminded the new firefighters that they will be held in high regard but also have high standards.

"Be compassionate," he said. "Seventy percent of our calls are medical, but 100 percent are from people who are having one of their worst days."

Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, who now represents Lodi in the state Assembly, attended the ceremony, as did Mayor Larry Hansen and City Manager Blair King.

The graduates went through tough physical training under the instruction of Lodi Firefighter Dave Rabara, who ran the fire academy. All three will now respond to calls for medical and fire emergencies.

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  • Graves, 31, said he had once wanted to become a police officer. The more he learned, though, the more he realized it wasn't quite the right public service field for him.

He previously worked at a winery but took the Lodi job when the opening came up. Graves lives in Santa Rosa with his wife, Leasa, and step-son, Anthony.

  • Kilday, 29, spent four years in Iraq and Afghanistan as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. He then spent another four years with the National Guard.

He said he'd always wanted to work in public service, so he started in the military to get some experience and then began looking for a firefighting job.

He grew up in Martinez, then spent time in San Luis Obispo, and now lives in Stockton to be closer to work.

  • Rowlands, 38, joked that he's older than the other new firefighters, but he said he's always wanted the excitement, constant change and public service that go with firefighting jobs.

The Lodi High School graduate previously taught high school business in Elk Grove, then went to work as a paramedic for American Medical Response.

He lives in Lodi with his wife, Amber, and three children, John, Tyler and Brianna.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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8 comments:

  • posted at 3:03 am on Mon, Dec 15, 2008.

    Posts:

    What I have seen posted here about the three new Firefighters blows my mind. First of all to the two whiners would you have the guts to do their jobs?? I have my doubts!!! Could you go into a burning building to savesomeones life, do you know how ungodly hot that can be, but you putyour life on the line any way because its your job. The whole Department exist for one reason and that is to serve the people of the city and whatSets the Firefighter apart is he or she must be ready at a moments noticewhen the alarm sounds to do what ever is necessary to help the personwho called. There is a culture that exist among the men and women of theDepartment that go in harms way and use any means necessary even if youmust put your life on the line to go to the aid of a stranger, you just cantpay people enough for that..

     
  • posted at 11:18 am on Sun, Dec 14, 2008.

    Posts:

    The 3 day a week guys negotiated a 7% annual increase for the next three years with a retroactive increase in salary to April 1 of this year. The PD also received a raise however less than the "first to the fire" crew. The other city employees union got a goose egg (0)raise and a lump of coal for Christmas.

     
  • posted at 8:48 am on Sat, Dec 13, 2008.

    Posts:

    Loadeye Brains, hard work and competition apply in any job that is worth doing.

     
  • posted at 8:46 am on Sat, Dec 13, 2008.

    Posts:

    Loadeye speaking of interpretor, I believe you need one to explane your first and second pargraph. I have had personal experence with the LFD, you call, they haul azz to what ever the problem is. The problems lies with the retirement and other benifits they recieve upon retirment. To work 20-25 years and receive 75% of your pay plus retirement benifits are breaking the city, especially the officers in the PD and FD. To late to change it, so Mr. Taxpayer just suck it up, don`t worry be happy. Thats the bad news for Mr. Taxpayer, the good news for the FD and PD, their young enough to get another good paying job. Stay low.

     
  • posted at 8:20 am on Sat, Dec 13, 2008.

    Posts:

    And, like Mr. Cator says in his letter to the editor today: "it takes brains, hard work and competition". Pretty simple.

     
  • posted at 8:04 am on Sat, Dec 13, 2008.

    Posts:

    You three Union firefighters should be ashamed of yourself for coming to Lodi and expecting a living wage, health benefits and a great pension plan. It's thugs like you that created those horrible 40 hour weeks, overtime pay and a representation group to negotiate your wage packages and settle unfair grievances and firings of employees. Go to city hall and these deadend $8 an hour manufacturing plants here in this area and see how they treat their employees for an example. Don't forget to take an interpretor along, though. No one should allowed to retire until they're at least 70 or disabled like our city manager, mayor and council want. Merry Christmas, young men, and way to go. Most people have no idea what you really do, as your city leaders and paid to blog posters lead them to believe you just sleep or play cards or TV. I'd venture to say 75% couldn't pass the test physically, more or less intellectually. Good luck. See you on a job soon!

     
  • posted at 7:54 am on Sat, Dec 13, 2008.

    Posts:

    Cats if what you say is true concerning a 21% raise, where did the city cough up the money to hire 3 new fire fighters? Perhaps they are replacing 3 fire fighters that retired. At that percentage of a raise, and their medical and retirement taken care of, it`s just possable that Lodi will look like the UAW in a couple of years, or will it take that long as allot of money is delt out on a monthly basis for retired PD and FD.

     
  • posted at 7:42 am on Sat, Dec 13, 2008.

    Posts:

    I wonder if they too get the 21% raise our other first responders received this year? Even though they just started they will probably receive paychecks dating back to March just like the others riding the red shiny trucks. By the way who is paying for the HoHoHo trips around town?

     

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