CLIMBING THE LADDER Fire department promotes nine

The Pine Bluff Convention Center hosted a promotion ceremony Wednesday to recognize nine members of the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Department.

Fire Chief Shauwn Howell, spoke about his pride in the men who are moving up in rank.

”Right here you have the future leaders in our department,” Howell said before the firefighters were sworn in to their new positions.

“I also want to thank the families for their support, standing by, and with each one of these men as they went through their training, and hours away from family,” Howell said.

After the chief’s comments each group came up according to rank to be sworn in by Jefferson County District Court Judge John Kearney. After each swearing-in a family member came up to pin the badge on each firefighter’s uniform.

Captain Ernest Stacy was promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief; Lieutenants Harold Clark Jr. and John Reed were promoted to the rank of Captain; Engineers Jerry Garganeous, Joey Tomboli and LaRon Edwards were promoted to the rank of of Lieutenant; and Firefighters Matthew Inman, Michael Burleson and Kevin Chapmon were promoted to the rank of Engineer.

Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth spoke after the swearing-in to congratulate each individual, but she also reiterated what the chief said in thanking the families.

“I want to commend the men for what they have accomplished, but I want to commend the families as well as the men,” the mayor said.

Hollingsworth said that before becoming mayor, she served on the Civil Service Commission that dealt with all aspects of the police and fire departments and she said that experience enlightened her as to just how important firefighters are to the community.

“You risk your life, and I never knew that until I got involved with public safety but you risk your life,” the mayor said. “When you fight fires and all the other things you do, you are heroes.”

Refreshments were served after the event and families gathered around the fire fighters for hugs and photos.