More than 200 attend promotion ceremony for 6 firefighters

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The Sumter Item

MANNING - Six firefighters with the Clarendon County Fire Department were promoted on Sept. 19 during a Pinning Ceremony which was held immediately following the department's Recruit Class 1701 graduation ceremony. The ceremonies were held on the CCFD's regularly scheduled Officers' Training night. More than 200 fellow officers, family members and friends attended the ceremony.

The evening began with a presentation of the colors by the fire department's Color Guard followed by the new recruits' graduation service and then the Pinning Ceremony.

"Three officers have been promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and three officers have been promoted to the rank of captain," said Johnson during the ceremony.

Johnson was assisted at the promotions ceremony by Clarendon County Fire Chief Frances Richbourg, who presented each newly promoted officer with a new bright red fire helmet and his or her new badge. Family members and friends walked on stage to participate in the ceremony by pinning the new badges on the officers.

Joseph McLeod and D. Mitchum, who have been with the CCFD since 2002, were promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

Lee Mahoney, a member of the fire department since 2003, was promoted to the rank of captain.

Michael Cothran, who has been serving since 2005, was promoted to captain.

F.B. Jones, a member of the department since 2006, was also promoted to captain.

Jessica Weinberg, who has been a member of the department since 2008, was promoted to lieutenant.

Using words of encouragement, Johnson told the newly promoted officers that past officers in the department were the ones who shaped the department into what it is today.

Johnson named Glen Costello, Tommy Conway, Jimmy Bruner, Grover Morris, Carter Jones, Buster Robinson, Billy Rowe, Dennis Kropf, the Outlaw brothers Moe and Ed, Van Green, Ed Gamble, Michael Brooks, Phil Lackey, Carrol Harrington and of course (the late H.P.) 'Mutt' Bozard as a few of the firefighters who sculpted today's Clarendon County Fire Department.

Johnson had members of the audience as well as the newly promoted officers laughing when he shared a few of the mishaps that have taken place at the fire department.

"We have all made mistakes," he told the new officers. "Good leaders will admit to those mistakes. The best leaders will share the mistakes with others to improve the team or organization, but they are not what make you. Your actions over your fire department careers have placed you into the positions that you are in today."

"It is an honor and a privilege to serve with officers like these in our department," Johnson said.

Richbourg said that each of the six newly promoted firefighters has proven a valuable asset with the CCFD through hard work and determination.

"I am delighted to have them in the department," Richbourg added. "They will be able to help us move forward and make improvements within the department. Each of them is an excellent mentor and role model for our young recruits and young firefighters. They have proven themselves as leaders."