Township of Monroe adds three firefighters to full-time ranks
Monday’s meeting of Monroe Township administrators would have been generally uneventful were it not for the ambulances and fire trucks.
Lt. Tom Schwab took center stage.
“The swearing-in ceremony is quite a sentimental moment in a firefighter’s career,” he said, “so we are very happy to share this moment with you and your families.”
In the Monroe Township Building at 7621 Johnstown-Alexandria Road in Johnstown, the community lined the walls; More than twenty friends and family members of all ages, and uniformed firefighters came to witness the swearing-in ceremony of three Monroe firefighters into the full-time rank.
“It can be the start of a career or a fresh start,” Schwab said. We’re pretty lucky to see both tonight.
First, Captain Josh Harrison introduced 23-year-old Tyler Conners of Mount Gilead with his family. A 2016 graduate of Mt. Gilead High School, Connors joined the Monroe Fire Department earlier this month and is currently enrolled in a paramedic program.
“And he hopes to graduate…this week,” Captain Harrison joked to enthusiastic laughter from the friendly crowd.
Conners spends his free time drag racing, working on vehicles, hunting and fishing. He’s been with Monroe for a year, in a part-time role.
Second, Captain Josh Martell introduced Joey Cashman, a 23-year-old graduate of Westerville North High School in the class of 2017. He is certified in Levels 1 and 2 Fire, EMT basic, and completed a paramedic course at Columbus State University. Initially hired as intermittent in August 2020, he finally became full-time in July 2021.
Cashman is lulled by the purr of his motorbike.
Conners and Cashman both replace former firefighters who have taken higher paying offers in nearby towns. Fire Chief Dudley Wright says the fire department as a whole is facing a severe labor shortage, lacking both paid firefighters and volunteer firefighters.
Finally, Captain Robert Albright introduced Dan Rice, 34, along with his wife and young children. A 2005 graduate of East Knox High School, he later graduated from Hocking College with his Basic Fire 1 & 2 and EMT certifications. Since 2017, he has served as the Bladensburg Fire Chief as a volunteer and comes to Monroe Township as a lateral transfer from the Mt. Vernon Fire Department.
“He’s our first side transfer,” captain Albright said. “We are happy to have him.”
Rice is certified as a fire inspector and he is a fire service instructor.
Administrator Joey Robertson walked up to the group of three, asked the new fire professionals to repeat after him, and began reciting the oath, including:
“…I will diligently administer all matters and actions relating to my position as a firefighter in the Monroe Township Fire Department…those things I swear to do, so help me God.”
“Welcome to the department,” Robertson said, initiating a triad of handshakes and hearty applause. Chief Wright came forward to conclude the ceremony.
“I would just like to say that we are very happy to have these three professionals with us. One of the things we do best here in Monroe Township is hire good people.