LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The Lafayette Fire Department held its 100th graduation earlier Friday. The new fire fighters say this was always a dream come true.
The ceremony for the 21 new firefighters was held at the George Dupuis Recreation Center.
Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit says when he started almost 40 years ago, they had a small training facility and no graduations.
Chief Benoit says the Lafayette Fire Department has come a long way.
“To see 100 graduations come through here and see how its changed significantly over the past 24 years that I’ve been chief, I think its amazing, think its very rewarding,” says Chief Benoit.
“What I like about it is that it sets the foundation going forward, seeing you have a lot of people backing you, so go out there and make the fire department proud.”
Chief Benoit says the next step for the new firefighters is a 12 month probation period where they will have to undergo a performance evaluation after every 90 days.
Chief Benoit says after this is complete, then they are officially firefighters on their own.
Family, friends, and officials filled the room to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the 100th class.
Sebrina Babineaux was one of the two females who graduated and feels supported by her peers.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m not strong enough, says Babineaux. “But they helped show me that I am strong enough and that I can keep up with the men in this job, and that they would work with me anytime that I would need help.”
Twins Breon and Braylyn Maiden not only finish each other’s sentences but also share the same dream of wanting to help people.
Breon says he’s been thinking about this his whole life. “One day I said it was time to do it, passed all the test to get in, and passed the academy,” says Breon.
Braylyn says “I’m really passionate about it, I’m giving it my all.”
Caleb Guidry graduated at the top of his class and says what he’s learned during the training will be applied in real life
“The abilities that you got to have is that you need to learn how to adapt and know what your job is and tools to use for it,” says Guidry.