New Rochelle firefighting ranks swelled Friday as six newly-minted graduates celebrated with a ceremony at Westchester's Department of Emergency Services in Valhalla.
The graduates—joining the New Rochelle team from the Westchester County Chiefs Firefighters Academy—are John Bollettieri, Ronald Fraioli, James Manning, Babatunde Ogunleye, Ryan Pascuzzi and John Williams III.
The six make up a squad of 17 recruits who will be joining six fire companies around the county.
"For the past 17 weeks, these young men have faced a broad range of physical and academic challenges during their rigorous training," said Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino during a service that packed a sprawling room with grads' friends and families.
"They have worked very hard in the classroom and out in the drill yard," he added.
Keynote speaker Thomas Dunne—a Deputy Chief with the New York Fire Department–spoke of the hardships ahead.
"At times you're going to be really fatigued," Dunne said. "[And] you're going to be tested mentally, [as well]."