Updated 12/21/2012 08:22 PM
Graduation Ceremony Held For Paramedics, EMTs Who Helped During Sandy
Some EMS recruits who performed rescues and other emergency services during Hurricane Sandy will hit the streets this weekend, this time in an official capacity, as their graduation ceremony was held Friday. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
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It was a packed house as friends and family cheered on the latest class of New York City Fire Department paramedics to walk across the stage.
It was the usual ceremony for this type of graduation, but the class itself is unique. Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said the graduates are the first to receive on-the-job experience during their 10-week training. Some provided critical help during Hurricane Sandy.
Michael Vindigni was stationed on Staten Island.
"We had a couple of crazy calls, pulling people out of the water, cardiac arrests," he said.
"Me and my partner Eric, Eric Archer, we were working the Rockaways," said Denzel Adonis, a FDNY EMT. "We were working down by Beach Channel. We had to help firefighters and a lady with asthma.
Commissioner Cassano said Hurricane Sandy tested the city and the graduates.
"That was the busiest night that the FDNY/EMS has ever experienced, and you were there for this department and the people were serve," Cassano said. "It was truly one of the finest hours of our EMS command."
There were more than 150 graduates at the ceremony, and while they were already working for the city, it became official after they recited the oath.
Among the graduates was the Fire Commissioner's son, Joseph Cassano.
"It's the best department in the world and I'm looking forward to working here," Joseph Cassano said.
"I started in this department 43 years ago, and to have my son not follow in my footsteps, because he's going to make his own footsteps, but to join the greatest department in the world and become an EMT in the greatest EMS command in the world, I'm very proud," Salvatore Cassano said.
There were a lot of other proud parents in the audience as well.
"To have my parents and family here to congratulate me and be with me now is amazing," said Dylan Vidoli, an FDNY EMT.
Most of the graduates will begin working on Sunday and will be stationed across the city. The ones NY1 spoke with said they will never forget their first assignment.