Nine San Angelo Fire Department cadets will formally graduate from the academy at a ceremony at 7 p.m. this Friday at the West Texas Training Center. The public is invited.

The new firefighters are Edward C. Cooper III, Jon P. Huddleson, Joshua D. Kemp, Jaden W. Lange, Matthew J. Malleck, Justin M. Neely, Steven W. Olsen, Raymond J. Orlando and Sammy D. Westerman.

The ceremony marks the end of 14 months of training for the recruits, during which they underwent the equivalent of four years of college paramedic training in 10 months at Howard College, passed a national registry exam to earn emergency medical technician and paramedic certifications, attended fire school to learn proper emergency responses, and were taught basics of driving fire apparatus.

“Our fire academy is rigorous, and rightly so,” Fire Chief Brian Dunn said. “It does an A-plus job of preparing new firefighters for the many challenges they will face daily. That these men have successfully navigated those 14 months of training speaks to their mettle. They are eager to begin serving the public, and we’re eager to have their help.”

During Friday night’s commencement at the center, 3501 U.S. Highway 67 North, Dunn will administer oaths to the recruits before a loved one will pin their badges on their uniforms.

The graduates will initially be assigned to Fire Station No. 1 downtown. While at “central fire,” they will receive additional fire training, intensive supervision and valuable experience before being assigned to one of the SAFD’s seven substations.

The next fire academy is already underway. Testing for the subsequent academy will be in February 2015. The posting of that academy will occur this fall, although applications are accepted year-round. To apply for selection to the fire academy, go to or Application packets are also available in the Human Resources offices on the second floor of City Hall, 72 W. College Ave.