COLLEGE STATION – Fifty-three new firefighters recently graduated from the 12th Online Firefighter Recruit Academy at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). They completed 335 hours of training online before traveling to College Station for an intensive 21-day, 210-hour, hands-on firefighting “boot camp” at Brayton Fire Training Field.
Mark Wobus, Fire Chief in Bastrop, Texas, was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, held April 18 at Rudder Theater on the Texas A&M University Campus.
The graduates came from Texas, Alaska, California, Nevada and several provinces in Canada, and ranged in age from 18 to 63. Although Andrew Makey-Heindl, 18, from Orillia, Ontario, and Neil Summer, 63, from College Station, TX, came from different countries and different generations, they bonded as they shared the intense, up-close-and-personal introduction into real-world firefighting and the brotherhood of firefighters. Both men passed the ProBoard Firefighter I and Firefighter II national exams.
“During their boot camp held at Brayton Fire Training Field, recruits of Class #12 learned about the unique 12th Man traditions of Texas A&M,” said Training Manager Jason Loyd of the TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute. “During this 21-day boot camp, the recruits made great friendships along this journey we call the fire and emergency services. They know that they are now a part of a much bigger family — the Aggie Family and the TEEX Family.”
The Online Firefighter Recruit Academy has graduated 439 students since the first class was held in 2011. The program is eligible for college credit through the Fire Science Technology degree program at Blinn College and the Fire and Emergency Services Administration degree program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
Learn More about the Online (Blended Learning) or 12-week Face-to-Face Recruit Firefighter Academy.