When someone joins the Harker Heights Fire Department, they don’t just become a firefighter. They join a family. During a swearing-in ceremony June 6, Fire Chief Jack Collier officially welcomed firefighters and paramedics Justin Hewitt, 24, and Casey Baugh, 22, to the Heights family.

“Today is a big day in these two fellas’ lives. Wear this badge with honor and pride,” Collier said. “We routinely place ourselves between the people we protect and serve and the emergency. Our job is anything but routine, so never take it for granted.”

Hewitt came on board Sept. 21 and Collier joked that he made him wait a full nine months to wear the badge.

“He is a good solid paramedic and he’s a good addition to the department,” Collier said, adding that Baugh also is fitting in nicely.

Baugh is the most recent addition, starting April 17.

“It’s a pretty awesome deal and the guys here have really taken to me,” he said. “It’s a great work environment.”

Hewitt said Heights is the perfect place to get his start. “You learn a lot here,” he said. “I enjoy everyone I work with and I enjoy coming to work.”

Before affixing the badges to their uniforms, Collier reminded the recruits they often come in contact with people on the worst day of their lives.

“Set the standard for yourself and for those who will come after you,” Collier said. “And always, whether you are in uniform or not, be nice.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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