Several firefighters will be recognized this weekend in a special “pinning” ceremony to introduce their promotions within the Leesburg Fire Department.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, in the East Room of the Leesburg Community Building, 109 E. Dixie Ave.
Eight firefighters are being promoted to higher positions including newly appointed Deputy Fire Chief David Johnson, who has served with Leesburg since 1994, holding several positions since he started as a firefighter. Ten-year veteran Joe Mera will move from the lieutenant/paramedic position to fill Johnson’s former spot as one of three battalion fire chiefs.
“I am very proud of the accomplishments of these members of the Fire Department and all the training and education they have amassed in preparation for their new positions and responsibilities in serving their community,” Fire Chief Kevin Bowman said.
Lt. Brian Trinder is being promoted to captain/training officer. Ryan Henry and Nate Barlow are being promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Chris Hogan, Tom Lindmeier and Jeremy Newman are being promoted to the rank of engineer. Many of the firefighters will be accompanied at Saturday’s event by family and friends to watch them receive new uniform badges and collar pins recognizing their ranks.
Badge pinning is a proud tradition within fire departments and other professions, signifying the introduction of staff members to their new duties. Fire lieutenants, captains and chiefs wear small collar pins with different numbers of speaking trumpets more often called “bugles.” Lieutenants wear one trumpet – the fire chief wears five.
Lower ranks receive other types of pins and badges.
The Leesburg Fire Department has 60 staff members, serving in three battalions on 24-hour shifts. Each shift has a battalion chief, five lieutenants, six driver-engineers and nine firefighters. The fire department responds to more than 7,000 calls a year. Firefighters also provide fire safety instruction to the public and several local schools.
The city maintains an ISO 2 Public Protection Classification, which ranks the city among the top one percent of fire departments across the country. That ISO designation also helps to keep insurance costs low for property owners.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.