WESTFIELD - In the ranks of the Westfield Fire Department there are 11 members with more than 35 years of service as firefighters. At the recent graduation from the Firefighter 1 certification course, the national training course for firefighters, four Westfield Fire Department members received certificates showing that they are now fully trained as firefighters. In Westfield this membership is often a family tradition. Seen in the accompanying photo are Jeremy Ruch, whose diploma was handed to him by his father, Jerry Ruch, assistant fire chief. Colin Cleland and Matt Gross received their diplomas from William Bills, acting chief, whose uncle of the same name also serves in the department. And Chris Chasse was given his diploma by his grandfather Ed Kneer, who still serves as a member of the department after 45 years. Kneer also presented his grandson with his treasured fireman's ring, something that only a few of the older generation of firefighters still wear.
Photo by Connie O’Connor