Swearing in

Harker Heights Fire Chief Jack Collier welcomes Eric Pedroza, center, and Jimmy Stewart to the force during a ceremony on Wednesday.

Harker Heights Fire Chief Jack Collier swore in 22-year veteran Jimmy Stewart and new firefighter Eric Pedroza to the Harker Heights Fire Department in a Wednesday ceremony.

Firefighters at the ceremony honored the life of Killeen police officer Robert “Bobby” Hornsby, who was killed Sunday in the line of duty, by covering a cross-section of their badges with black fabric.

“You see our badges that are covered here,” Collier said. “Both fire and police are brotherhood services. You’re not just a member of our department, you’re a member of our family.”

Collier reminded the two firefighters that while some emergencies may seem routine to officials, they can be the worst days of callers’ lives.

Stewart, 49, worked 22 years for the Grand Prairie Fire Department, starting as a driver in 1987 and rising to lieutenant, captain and training captain, he said.

He earned Texas Firefighter of the Year twice and spent three years in retirement before returning to the profession.

“(I have) a satisfaction helping people in their time of need,” Stewart said. “I missed it. That’s why I got back into it.”

Pedroza, 21, said he knew he wanted to be a firefighter when he attended a citizens’ fire academy during his senior year of high school.

The Decatur native said firefighting was his dream job.

“Now, it’s a reality,” Pedroza said, smiling. “I finally got it.”

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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