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Fire Corps swears in new officers

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The Hernando County Fire Corps swore in their leadership team for 2023-2024 in a Monday evening ceremony at Pristine Place. Six new and returning officers raised their right hand and took the oath of office administered by Kevin Rittenhouse, Chief of Hernando County Fire Rescue’s Training Division.

John Lightsey was named Commander. He has served in that capacity for the four previous years. In addition, Ron Doyle was sworn in as Deputy Commander of Operations, John Thornton as Logistics Officer, Vince Montefusso as Training Officer, Dawn White as Treasurer, and Nate Smith as Secretary.

Established in 2005, the Fire Corps was created locally as an auxiliary support group to enhance the capabilities of the Hernando County Fire Rescue. These dedicated volunteers undergo extensive training and work alongside professional firefighters in various capacities, providing invaluable assistance during emergencies, community events, and day-to-day operations.

In addition to their operational duties, the Hernando County Fire Corps volunteers are constantly seeking ways to improve their skills and knowledge. They participate in regular training sessions and workshops, ensuring they are up to date with the latest techniques and best practices in fire safety and emergency response.

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During emergency situations, the Fire Corps volunteers play a critical role by providing support services that allow firefighters to focus on their primary tasks. They assist with traffic control, logistics, and rehabilitation efforts for firefighters working in challenging conditions. By alleviating some of the workload the HCFR faces, the Fire Corps enables the department to respond more effectively and efficiently to emergencies. These volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, united by their shared commitment to public service.

Hernando County Fire Rescue Chief Kevin Rittenhouse said of the Corps, “There’s so much stuff they do for us…we couldn’t possibly do it all. We are working with them in some capacity almost daily.”

One of the key contributions of the Hernando County Fire Corps is their participation in community outreach programs. They actively engage with residents, schools, and local organizations, promoting fire safety awareness, conducting educational sessions, and offering valuable resources to ensure the community is well-prepared for emergencies. One example is teaching first aid and CPR to community groups at no charge. There are six such courses scheduled in the next month alone.

The Corps also has a Cadet Program open to persons aged 14 – 20 interested in the Fire Service.

The Hernando County Fire Corps always seeks new members eager to make a difference in their community. If you have a passion for public service and a desire to contribute to the safety and well-being of others, joining the Fire Corps could be an excellent opportunity for you. More information can be obtained by emailing Commander John Lightsey at [email protected].

New Officers (L-R) V. Montefusso, J. Lightsey, R. Doyle, J. Thornton, D. White, N. Smith. Far Right Chief K. Rittenhouse. Photo by Mark Stone.

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