ROANOKE, Va. – After 12 weeks and 600 hours of grueling physical and mental training, 11 new firefighters graduated from the Roanoke Valley Regional Fire & EMS Recruit Academy.
On Friday, the new graduates and their friends and families gathered at Lakeside Baptist Church for the ceremony.
The new recruits will work for Roanoke city, Roanoke County, Salem city and Botetourt County. This academy class, No. 24, is the first time that Botetourt has joined the regional academy.
One new Roanoke City graduate, whose father is a fireman near Norfolk, Va., said it's a tough job that comes with a lot of responsibilities, but he's ready to face them.
"Public safety, especially, is one of those things that's a challenge for some people but, if you have a passion to continue forward, I wouldn't let anything hold you back from it," said Paul Wotring Jr., a new graduate.
The new graduates don't get a break. Some of them report to work on Saturday.