A call to service

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Ceremony welcomes recruits to firefighting fraternity

Some families you’re born into, bound to each other by blood.


Others you earn your way into with blood, sweat and sacrifice.

After 20 grueling weeks of training, testing and a lot of pushups, 25 new members were welcomed into the metro area’s firefighting family on Friday when they earned their badges. 

The new firefighters will work at the Littleton, West Metro, South Metro and Cunningham fire departments.

More than a graduation ceremony, the celebration of the new firefighters was  a rite a passage. The recruits left the stage on Friday as part of an extended family built upon a dedication to serve the public and the willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

Jessica Crump, one of Littleton’s newest firefighters, was born into a firefighting family. Her father was a firefighter who died in the line of duty in 2000. While he may not have planned for her to follow in his footsteps, Crump said, “I know he’d be super proud of me. The fire service is everything to me. It’s been my whole life before, and now it gets to be my life and my child’s life too.”   

The fire chiefs of all four departments spoke to the newly minted firefighters about the family that they were now part of and the responsibility that came with it. 

Littleton Fire Chief John Mullin told the recruits they are trusted completely by the public, a trust they were given because of the firefighters who came before them. 

“And they inherited (trust) from the ones before them,” Mullin said. “You take care of that trust, and your careers will be spectacular.”

West Metro Chief Don Lombardi asked the firefighters to look at the polished new badges they just received. 

“It’s polished for a reason. You folks have committed to do your very best,” Lombardi said. “Ask yourself, ‘Am I going to polish the badge today or am I going to tarnish it?’”

The final words of their new chiefs did not fall on deaf ears. 

Luke Bazacas, who was given the academy’s peer-voted award for the recruit who worked the hardest, and showed leadership and improvement, said it was humbling not only to be recognized by his fellow recruits but to be part of a legacy as rich and as long as firefighting. 

“More than anything, it’s a humbling experience,” Bazacas said. “It’s an opportunity to be able to help people and give back to the community.”

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22 and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.