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20 graduate, become firefighters

LAWRENCEVILLE — Twenty Gwinnett County firefighters officially graduated Friday night, the second part of the department’s largest-ever group of hirings.

Friday’s graduates, along with 48 classmates that completed training in October, were all hired in March of last year to allow the fire department to open three new stations.

In front of County Administrator Glenn Stephens and Commissioners Mike Beaudreau and Lynette Howard, Gwinnett’s newest firefighters were given their diplomas at the Justice and Administration Center.

They will be assigned to fire stations across the county beginning today, department spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said.

“The majority of (Friday’s) graduates came to the department having already been certified as EMTs,” Rutledge said. “This shortened their training time and allowed many of them to go to work on ambulances in the field before attending the firefighter training.”

Special recognition given to graduates included: Joseph Guyton Walker, Academic Award; Michael Joseph Korb, Physical Fitness Award; Ruben Daio Ponce, Core Values Award; and Alfredo Jose Nunez, Top Rung Award.

Fire stations No. 29 (at 2800 Thompson Mill Road in Buford), No. 30 (at 1052 Ozora Road in Loganville) and No. 18 (at 1515 Mineral Springs Road in Hoschton) were opened as a result of the hiring the department’s most recent pair of graduating classes.