Two top grads join West Point Fire Department

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – A new class of firefighters just recently graduated from the State Fire Academy.

Two of those newly minted firefighters have joined the West Point Fire Department

The State Fire Academy has seven weeks of intense training to take on the intense job of becoming a certified firefighter.

The most recent class graduated 30 cadets.

But two stood out. Courtney Gardner and Robert Fair finished at the top of that class.

Now, they’re taking their posts at the West Point Fire Department.

Mayor Rod Bobo recognized the two newest firefighters at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.

“So many times our young people get recognized for the wrong things and these young men took the initiative to first of all join our firefighting force and secondly to go to the academy and get certified,” Bobo said. “So, I felt the need to recognize them publicly and make sure that they get acknowledged for that.”

West Point Fire Chief, Ken Wilbourne said veteran firefighters gave Gardner and Fair a lot of support to help get them ready for the grueling training.

“It surely wasn’t just me, it was everybody in this department that had hands-on doing this. it was different stuff at different times, the whole level of getting them ready to go. Because there is a whole series of stuff you got to do just to get in the academy,” said Wilbourne.

Both Gardner and Fair have firefighting in their blood.

Gardner’s father and uncle were both firefighters for more than 20 years.

Gardner said he hopes his journey can be motivational to any other inspiring firefighters in the area.

“You can be anything you want to be if you put your heart to it if you put your mind to it,” Gardner said. “That’s another thing I learned within those seven weeks is anything you want to do you can do it, just pray about it push, and try your best. It’s a couple of times I was thinking I wasn’t going to make it but, I prayed my way through it and if I can do it anybody can do it.”

Fair’s grandfather was an assistant chief for the West Point Fire Department.

He said his training has taught him how much unity can come from being a part of a fire department.

“I mean you work as a team,” Fair said. “You work as a family and you get adapted to becoming a unit as a whole. We spend 24 hours here and get 48 hours off, with the 24 hours we are here. We all hang out together, we all cook, eat, and, hang out. These are your brothers, you want to take care of them when things get rough out there, you know you’ve got somebody to depend on, you know you go that bond.”

Gardner and Fair graduated from the State Fire Academy in May.

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