Sunday, December 17, 2017

N.J. city's newest firefighters almost all veterans

NEWARK, N.J. — When Marland Lawrence entered the fire academy after coming home from the Navy, he was surprised to find out he was not the only veteran in his class. Almost everyone else had also just left the military.

Lawrence was one of 28 veterans in Newark's 41st fire recruit class, which graduated Tuesday. Three others were also sworn in.

It is not a coincidence. New Jersey's largest city has spent the past few years actively recruiting veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to serve in its Fire Department. It is the first time the department has recruited veterans since World War II.

"They bring that life experience, the camaraderie, the teamwork, and already knowing a quasi-military structure," said John Centanni, the Newark fire chief. "They know rank and how to take orders. They bring all of that to the table."

The city's veterans office recruited returning veterans through phone calls and job fairs, and told veterans who contacted it about the firefighting job possibilities. New Jersey and other states give veterans preference in their civil service exams.

The recruits were sworn in Tuesday in the New Hope Baptist Church. The firefighters' pipe band, clad in kilts, played while marching down the aisle of the church.

The recruits are "one of the most historic class of firefighters this city has seen in many, many years," Mayor Cory Booker said. "They were heroes before they even put on the firefighter's uniform."

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website, Newark received a $7.1 million grant through the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. The grants make recruiting and hiring veterans a priority. Newark has hired 55 firefighters with the three-year grant.

Nationally, veterans have struggled to find work. The nationwide jobless rate for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was 9.7 percent in September. The Department of Justice awarded more than $111 million to 220 cities and counties in June to create law enforcement positions. A bill that would establish a $1 billion jobs program for veterans is stalled in Congress.

When Lawrence got back from serving in Bahrain, he couldn't find a job. With his unemployment running out, he went to the veterans office, which helped him enroll in college and take the civil service exam.

The fact that nearly everyone had military service created a competitive but collaborative spirit that carried the group through the 12-week training, Lawrence said. "There was a special bond," he said.

Comments
Trans-Siberian Orchestra honor founder Paul O’Neill in Tampa: ‘You live in all our hearts’

Trans-Siberian Orchestra honor founder Paul O’Neill in Tampa: ‘You live in all our hearts’

The grandiosity and bombast of a typical Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert was tinged with emotion during the band's two concerts Sunday in Tampa, the adopted home of late founder Paul O'Neill.With plenty of friends and family looking on at Amalie Are...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fresh off victory, Doug Jones spends weekend in Key West

Fresh off victory, Doug Jones spends weekend in Key West

Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones was spotted in Key West over the weekend, celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and catching a Jimmy Buffett performance.A source told Politico that the Jones and his wife, Louise, showed up at Buffett's Margaritav...
Updated: 1 hour ago
U.S. soldier ambushed in Niger wasn’t captured, report says

U.S. soldier ambushed in Niger wasn’t captured, report says

From The Associated Press:An American soldier killed in an ambush in Niger with three comrades but recovered days later wasn't captured alive by the enemy or executed at close range, The Associated Press has learned, based on the conclusion of a mili...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Stevens, Watkins record double-doubles in Penn State victory

Lamar Stevens scored 23 points and added 12 rebounds for his first career double-double, Mike Watkins added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Penn State dominated George Mason in the post on its way to a 72-54 victory
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Cabrera and son win the Father-Son Challenge

A rough year for Angel Cabrera ends with a special moment with his son as they capture Father-Son Challenge with record-tying score
Updated: 11 minutes ago
The Latest: WR Antonio Brown taken to hospital

The Latest: WR Antonio Brown taken to hospital

The Latest from the NFL: The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to protect their 17-10 halftime lead over the New England Patriots without wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Updated: 12 minutes ago

AP Top News at 6:08 p.m. EST

AP Top News at 6:08 p.m. EST
Updated: 12 minutes ago

Conservative billionaire and former Chilean President Pinera easily wins presidential runoff election

Conservative billionaire and former Chilean President Pinera easily wins presidential runoff election
Updated: 12 minutes ago
The Latest: WR Antonio Brown taken to hospital

The Latest: WR Antonio Brown taken to hospital

The Latest from the NFL: The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to protect their 17-10 halftime lead over the New England Patriots without wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Updated: 12 minutes ago

Bliznyuk, EWU beat Northridge 86-58, snap 5-game loss streak

Bogdan Bliznyuk scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Eastern Washington returned home for the first time since Nov. 10 to snap a five-game losing streak with an 86-58 victory over Cal State Northridge
Updated: 13 minutes ago