Bethany's Fire Academy Graduation

2023 Jun 27

Bethany has for quite a while been working toward the goal of being a firefighter. She was recently hired by the Valley Regional Fire Authority (Auburn) and has now graduated from Fire Academy. It is a significant milestone to get your badge, and Andrew pinned it on her as part of the ceremony.

Andrew having put Bethany's firefighter badge on her, with their girls

Afterward she stood with other recruits as a fire bell was rung (she is second row, second from left).

Firefighters at attention while fire bell is rung

Bethany started this journey volunteering for a fire department near Black Diamond. She completed a Volunteer Fire Academy course in 2017, and served regularly afterwards.

Andrew and Bethany after her volunteer graduation

You can see how much less formal that first graduation was!

The Fire Academy was intense. Training drills included instructors yelling at you as you did your task. It was not this way to be cruel, but to acclimatize the recruits to working quickly under pressure such as might be in a fire-fighting situation. There were lots of physical and mental challenges, time in the classroom, time practicing skills with all the personal protective equipment, in training buildings that had been lit on fire.

One of the recruits spoke for the class during the graduation ceremony. He said that among the things they will remember were "Recruit Grove's war cries" (Bethany's vocalizations during some of the intense physical activity).   :-)

Quoting now from a VRFA news posting: "This week the Valley Regional Fire Authority welcomed six new probationary firefighters. On Tuesday evening, after completing the South King County Fire Training Consortium's rigorous 21-week fire academy they received their badges. Welcome to the team, Bethany Grove, …"

six new firefighters in front of fire engine

It is part of process that firefighters remain in a year-long probationary period before they become regular firefighters. However, I am confident that Bethany will accomplish that milestone as well.

Congratulations Bethany!


Update 2024 Jan 30: Bethany successfully completed her probationary year with the VRFA and now has Firefighter 3rd Class status!