By Chris Fish
PALM BAY -- The Palm Bay Fire Rescue Department grew a little larger on Nov. 19, as four new firefighters took an oath to serve their community.
Chief Jim Stables presented the new hires at a meeting for the Palm Bay City Council.
The firefighters sworn into office included: Jessie Almeida, hired in August from the Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce area; Ignacio Cano, hired in August from the Miami area; Steve Worthington, former Palm Bay Utilities employee hired in August after completing certification and training; and William Dietz, former U.S. Army combat engineer hired in October.
Mr. Worthington, 30, said he is excited for the opportunity to serve the Palm Bay community as a firefighter.
"Just being able to help people, and the privilege of being able to help, is a great feeling," he said. "When I was a kid, I wanted to be a psychologist, but I was meant to help others in a different way."
Mr. Worthington said, to become a firefighter, he first need to be an emergency medical technician. Then, he was required to complete a six-month training course.
The night also included an announcement of nine others accepting leadership positions within the agency.
The promotions included five new drivers: Jason Smith, Sean Emerson, Mike McHale, Mark Barwick and Clayton Hanks.
Charles Rogers and Brian Gent were promoted to Lieutenant.
Coy Chapel was promoted to Captain and Keith Grice was promoted to Battalion Chief.
Batt. Chief Keith Grice has served more than 25 years with the department. He was promoted to driver/engineer in 1993 and to Lieutenant in 1995. He was next promoted to Captain in 2008.
Capt. Coy Chapel began his career in Palm Bay in 1988, and rose through the ranks to be promoted to the rank of driver/engineer in 1990, then to Lieutenant in 1993. He is a 25 year veteran of the department.