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13 recruits graduate from Roanoke Valley Regional Fire & EMS Academy

Graduating class will help with understaffing, fire chief says

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Andrew Amos has been on a mission to become a firefighter nearly all his life.

“I wanted to be a firefighter since I was a kid,” Amos said.

As soon as he turned 18, he began volunteering at a fire department in Pittsylvania.

“I started taking classes as a volunteer, and I knew it was something I wanted to turn into a career,” Amos said.

Amos was one of 13 graduates who spent 20 weeks and nearly 1,000 hours receiving instruction and practical training in firefighting skills and emergency medical service instruction from Roanoke Valley Regional Fire & ESM Academy. 

Not only are these new firefighters ready to begin their first station shift Monday morning, Chief Steven Simon of the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue said they will help with the department's understaffing.

“Our department did not have minimum staffing. There were not enough firefighters for every day. We received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to hire 11 additional firefighters,” Simon said.

This new graduating class of Ronald Akers, Andrew Amos, Jacob Dodson, Michael Firestone, Sean Forrest, Kyle Johnson, Tim Marshall II, Dustin Rice, James Slater, Zachary Snider, Adam Varian, Nicholas Walker, Francis Wolowski Jr. will bring the department's staffing needs up to the minimum levels.