[COLUMBUS-OH]  March 29, 2021, seventeen cadets received their certificate of completion of the Columbus Fire Cadet Program in the John Nance Auditorium, 3639 Parsons Ave., at 10 a.m. This is the first cadet class to complete the Fire Cadet Program.

“It was a special day two years ago when we met and started on this journey of such historic proportions, and I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of you for staying the course despite some of the doubters. Class #1 you will be forever in the history books within the Columbus Division of Fire,” Fire Chief Jeffrey Happ said during today’s celebration.

“To the members of Columbus Fire Cadet Class #1. I want to thank you for your hard work, dedication, adaptability, and willingness to take on whatever was asked of you. You have shown resiliency and commitment during the past 24 months, and it is a privilege to witness the growth each of you have attained,” said Happ.

The 14 men and three women were recruited into the first ever two-year cadet program, marking the culmination of a ten-year effort by then-City Councilmember, now Mayor Andrew Ginther and then-Fire Chief, now Safety Director Ned Pettus, Jr., to increase diversity among the ranks of police and fire.

For the past two years, the cadets have earned widely-accepted credentials, including Fire Fighter I and II, Emergency Medical Technician Basic, Healthcare provider CPR AHA certification, AHA First Aid training, National Incident Management System (NIMS) 100, 700 and HAZMAT Technician Certification.

“This program represents progress toward a more diverse, inclusive Division of Fire. It also represents opportunity for people who have been underrepresented in our safety forces for too long,” said Pettus. “These cadets seized that opportunity, and worked hard to better themselves.  I could not be more proud of them.”

Each of the 17 cadets are Columbus residents. Five of them have been hired by the division as full-time firefighters after taking and passing the Civil Service Entry-Level Firefighter exam. Ten of them have been hired with suburban fire departments throughout Central Ohio.