Above: Mayor Tom Arthur swears in Stoney Fisher, Friday, as a member of the Brazil City Fire Department, as Chief Tobey Archer holds the Holy Bible.
Bottom: Troy McQueen was the other newest member of the Brazil City Fire Department to be swore in on Friday.
Mayor Tom Arthur swore in two of the three firefighters selected by the city to replace retiring department veterans in a ceremony at City Hall on Friday.
Stoney Fisher, 23, and Troy McQueen, 28, both of Brazil, passed comprehensive physical and psychological evaluations and a battery of interviews before being chosen to join the Brazil City Fire Department. Chief Tobey Archer said new state-imposed guidelines for the hiring of public employees resulted in a long application process.
"We were one of the first small fire departments to have to deal with these guidelines," he said. "And I think it was the first time the department has re-placed three firefighters at the same time, so it's kind of unique in that fashion."
Greg Sanders, the third candidate selected to join the department, has not received final clearance from the Public Employees Retirement Fund. Archer said Sanders, who was recently injured in an accident involving a table saw, will likely be cleared some time this week.
The new firefighters will fill a void created by the departure of three veteran firefighters. Sammy K. Raybould, Ernest W. Parr and Darwin R. Parr, whose combined experience exceeds 100 years, will retire at the end of the year.
Said Arthur: "(Fisher and McQueen have) got some big shoes to fill."
The swearing-in ceremony marked the culmination of an exhaustive, eight-month evaluation process that began in March. A pool of 18 applicants participated in physical evaluations and other tests. After those initial screenings, a pared-down group of eight prospective firefighters was interviewed by Arthur and Archer. Finalists were then interviewed and evaluated by the Brazil Board of Works.
"Of the eight we interviewed, I was impressed with all of them," Arthur said. "It was actually a very hard decision.
"These guys will be here for a while, and I think they definitely have the potential to be good firefighters and good public servants."
The new appointees bring a wide breadth of experience to the BCFD. Fisher, who said becoming a firefighter has been a lifelong dream, worked at the Terre Haute airport and Youngblood Farms before joining the department.
"I've wanted to do it for years, and this will keep me close to home," he said.
McQueen served four years in the Air Force, working as a security police officer in South Korea, England and Germany. He was deployed for a time as a peacekeeper with the S-4 Stabilization Force in Bosnia.
"I've worked alongside fire departments and emergency management in the Air Force," he said. "I've got a lot of training in emergency management, and I kind of know how everything works."
McQueen may have one advantage over his fellow appointees as he adjusts to life as a public servant: his brother, Clint McQueen, is a patrolman with the Brazil City Police Department.
"We're going to run into each other quite a bit," Clint said.
The new firefighters are required to complete a state-mandated one-year probationary period before becoming full members of the department. Archer said they will begin training as a group when Sanders' application is approved by PERF.