MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Horry-Georgetown Technical College was the site as 24 new EMTs and firefighter recruits received their pins, with family members looking on. The 31st Recruit Class was welcomed into the ranks of Horry County Fire Rescue.
"When you get your badge as a fireman, it's not just a job for these guys, it's a calling. It's what we do. It's who we are." said Lt. Brian Van Aernam.
However, that calling has dwindled for some in recent months. Past records show that 31 new firefighters have been hired since late November, but 24 have left the department. Lt. Van Aernam says HCFR is already accepting applications for the next group of recruits.
"For some reason we do have a turnover rate, there's a lot of reasons for it. Guys move here and it's not what they expected, or guys are moving on to different careers, things like that," Lt. Van Aernam said.
Family members were selected to pin the badges on the new recruits. A special presentation showed what it's like training to become a firefighter.
Several Captains and Deputy Chiefs got up to congratulate the new class, including guest speaker Chief Shawn Oke, from the North Carolina Fire Department.
"After you get that badge pinned on you tonight, and you become a member of the Horry County Fire Department, I want you to remember that feeling. Remember that the only thing between you and any success you want, is yourself." said Chief Oke.
New hires David Boulware and Sean Nelson received the honor of Valedictorian for the Recruit and EMT Class, respectively.