My good friend, teammate and now brother firefighter graduated from his fire academy last night. Mike Tamayo started this journey with me when we went through TRFA #58 volunteer fire academy with Virginia Beach. A few years later I got hired by Franklin Fire and Rescue then in 2002 got hired with Virginia Beach. Mike had gone with a different career, but had always regretted a little not pursuing the fire career. Over the last couple of years he has worked hard and gone through a long hiring process to fulfill this dream. On June 19th he became a recruit fire fighter with the City of Chesapeake. The Fighting 40 is what they called themselves. The 40 is their class number. This class started with 65 and ended with 57. This is an extremely large class of fire recruits. I have had the honor to be associated with everyone of them during some of their training they did at Virginia Beach. I was impressed, especially since a large class has a chance to have members "slip though the cracks".
So last night Jenni and I got to get dressed up and watch our friend Mike graduate. Here's Jenni looking pretty as usual.
Mike's girlfriend (the program said girlfriend but maybe it was printed before she became fiancee--hopefully thats not a secret that I just let out), Lori Ann was there and had the distinct honor of being able to pin his badge on him. She should be given just as much credit as he is. I know how much of a change he had to go through, personally and at home to make this work.
On another note, Mike was the Salutatorian (did I spell that right?) of the class. Second place out of 57 with 8 DNF's...not to shabby. Good job. Of course he is apparently one of those nerds who can't do sit-ups because he wasn't given any physical fitness honors. Maybe we need to rethink his place on our team...team manager sounds like a good position for a smart guy with no athletic ability. Of course I'm kidding. Mike was 2 sit-ups away from a perfect PT score.
Two friends, two cities, one brotherhood. Welcome to the club.
Another notable who graduated from the Fighting 40 was Russell Deaton. Russell is the brother of Jimmy Deaton aka superdork.