Samuel Douchey always wanted to be a firefighter. Now he is almost there.
Douchey and 30 other recruits walked across a stage Friday to receive their badges as part of the Omaha Fire Department's recruit class graduation.
The class completed 17 weeks at the department's academy, training in live-fire operations and emergency medical services.
More than 2,100 people applied to be part of this recruit class.
Douchey, 20, was recognized at the ceremony for not only his high achievement but also his history. He is the grandson of Samuel M. Douchey, one of two firefighters who died in 1965 while searching for a woman trapped in a building at 8401 West Dodge Road. Douchey was 24 at the time of his death. Loren H. Desler, 28, also died in that blaze.
Samuel Douchey said his grandfather's death never deterred him from what he wanted, which was to fight fires.
“You learn from all the death and sacrifices made before you,” he said.
His grandmother Geraldine Daubman pinned the badge onto his uniform.
“He is going to be a wonderful firefighter, just like his grandfather,” she said.
Daubman said she was proud to have her grandson follow in her late husband's footsteps.
The recruits will be transferred to fire stations to work under the supervision of field training officers. After a year, if they pass their tests, they will be confirmed as firefighters.
It's the first recruit class in three years. There hadn't been a need until now, said Fire Capt. Tim McCaw, who noted that many firefighters have retired.
The 31 recruits formed a larger class compared with previous classes ranging from 12 to 18, McCaw said.
The other graduates:
Zachary Bitzes, Jacob Chandler, Kipp Dailey, James Dugdale, Ron-Eric Estes, Jason Gentry, Thomas Grayson, Rocco Guido, Mindy Gutierrez, Travis Harlow, Benjamin Heller, Nicholas Hunter, Dillon Krysl, Timothy Kunz, William Kurz, Shane Lowman, Zachary Mass, Jacob McDonnell, Larahn Minnifield, Madeline Mulholland, Matthew J. Neneman, Daniel Nordstrom, Mike Quinlan, Danielle Rayman, Jason Roewert, David Roshone, Pedro Sanchez, William Sorys, Dustin Talacko, Thomas Wurth.
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