16 graduates from the Anniston Regional Training Center can now call themselves firefighters after completing a rigorous program. The Bridge Program is a five week course that has 10 weeks worth of training that students have to have in order to become certified firefighters. Recruits were sent from fire stations throughout East Alabama to be put through dozens of tests that require physical and mental toughness.
The program is also made available to high school students looking to make a career as firefighters. Grayson Alward, former football quarterback at Ohatchee High School, received his certification during today’s ceremony and says he’s proud to have chosen this as his career after high school.
While the newly certified firefighters are ready to begin their careers, many will always remember the Springville firefighter died last month in the line of duty. Jared Echols, recruit for the bridge program, suffered a heat stroke while training at the ARTC. Echols family was present at today’s graduation ceremony as class president, Thomas Harvey, helped honor the fallen firefighter.
Hannah Rhodes was the only female enrolled in the bridge program and she describes her experience as rough, but worth it.
Now that all 16 firefighters have completed the certification process, they are now in the process of finding a community to be of service to.