By Emma Coleman
Five new firefighters are on the job at the Lexington Fire Department (LFD) today after being sworn in last week.
Wes Harlow, Nick Shifflett, Devin Jennings, Justin Jarvis and Nick Ramsey were sworn in by Mayor Frank Friedman on Sept. 19. A sixth firefighter, Matt Spencer, was promoted to lieutenant.
The firefighters’ families and friends participated in the badge-pinning ceremony at the city council meeting.
Fire Chief Ty Dickerson said the oath and the ceremony are held in high regard throughout the fire and rescue service.
“The American Fire Service is rich with history and tradition,” Dickerson said, “and the Lexington Fire Department at 223 years old is no exception.”
He quoted Edward F. Crocker, a former New York fire department chief, in his presentation.
“When a firefighter takes their oath and accepts the badge, their first act of bravery has been accomplished,” he said, quoting Crocker. “Everything after that is simply in the line of duty.”
Harlow is transitioning to Lexington from Roanoke County’s fire and rescue service. Dickerson said he was born and raised in Rockbridge Baths. His brother, Jarret Harlow, also works with the LFD.
Shifflett hails from Augusta County, where he still volunteers as a firefighter, Dickerson said. He will serve as both a firefighter and a medic at the LFD.
Jennings graduated from Rockbridge County High School in June and began working with the LFD in July. He has experience as a volunteer for the South River Fire Department, Dickerson said.
Jarvis is returning to Lexington after serving for several years in Augusta County. Previously, Jarvis served as a junior member of the LFD when the fire station was located on Jefferson Street, Dickerson said. Jarvis will serve as both a firefighter and an EMT.
Ramsey is a Rockbridge County native who comes to LFD from the Augusta County fire and rescue service. Dickerson said Ramsey rose to the rank of lieutenant while in Augusta. He will maintain his rank at the LFD, where he will serve as C-shift commander.
Spencer is continuing his service at the LFD as a newly promoted lieutenant and B-shift commander. He was born and raised just outside of Lexington, and “he was in the first class of career firefighters and EMTs ever hired by the city,” Dickerson said.