New Tulsa Firefighters Go Through Rite Of Passage Before Taking Oath

Friday, June 20th 2014, 6:11 pm
By: News On 6

The City of Tulsa has 12 new firefighters.

As tradition dictates, the cadets burned their rookie training shirts on Friday morning and were sworn in as official members of the Tulsa Fire Department by afternoon.

The 2014 fire academy class may be the last training class Tulsa will see for at least a year.

The mayor says because of budget cuts TFD won't have new recruits in 2015.

It's been 20 weeks, 140 days, 3,380 hours, all leading up to the big moment: The cadets burn their red training shirts, take the oath and prepare to report to work in their blues.

"It's a dream to serve in the community, to be in a job where you can give back and that be your career it's a dream job," Heather Perkey said.

The dozen new firefighters are the cream of the crop and beat out some 400 applicants for the coveted jobs.

Perkey is the only female in the class. She won an award for best academics but says the training came with challenges.

"I think as a women the physical challenges is the biggest struggle, but beyond that, the guys are very accepting," Perkey said. "Everyone on here has been behind me every step of the way."

Mayor Dewey Bartlett promised firefighters for their service and said they'd have the best training and the best equipment.

"Every time a firefighter shows up to your door, you are so glad to see him or her," Bartlett said. "And we do such a great job of training them."

After 20 weeks of training, the new class heard words of wisdom from retired firefighter James Connor, who had the honor of seeing his son graduate.

"It's gotta be in your heart," he said. "If it's not in your heart, you'll never make it."

The new firefighters received their assignments at graduation and many of them will be put to work this weekend.