Dawson County Emergency Services on Saturday celebrated the graduation of 11 new recruits into the department's volunteer firefighter program.
Long considered the backbone of fire services, the department's volunteer staff continues to play an integral role in provide emergency service to the community, according to Chief Lanier Swafford.
"With the number of volunteers declining both in Georgia and across the nation, it is rewarding to see a group such as this step up and accept the opportunity and challenge so many pass by," he said.
The new firefighters are Sam Warnke, Jeremy Knight, Justin Poiles, Cody Kephart, Peter Geier, Randy Edwards, Ben Adams, Eli Kesting, Kaleb Kicklighter, Cole Duncan and Jeff Fraser.
"This group of volunteer recruits exemplifies the types of individuals Dawson County Emergency Services looks for in volunteer firefighters," Swafford said. "They have worked together to improve individually and as a team. They have trained, strained and sacrificed to make this achievement a reality."
A ceremony was held Saturday night at Riverview Middle School to celebrate the accomplishments.
"As a department we are extremely proud of their accomplishments and what each of them brings to DCES in terms of potential," Swafford said. "The community should be equally proud of their accomplishments."