WESTFIELD- The Fire Commission this week voted to hire two new firefighters during the regular monthly meeting at the Little River Fire Station.
Leon P. Morin and Roseanna K. Lacas were hired by the commission Monday after each candidate went through a public interview. They will each be filling a previously open Firefighter B-EMT position within the department.
Four names were originally on the agenda to be interviewed and hired. Candidate Tyler R. Garfield chose to withdraw his name from consideration in part because he is currently in an accelerated 1-year paramedic program that he wants to be able to focus on.
Candidate Thomas P. Flaherty was not present because he is on active duty in the Marines. Flaherty is the son of Ward 5 Municipal Light Board Commissioner, Thomas Flaherty.
Morin was the first of the two candidates to be interviewed by the commission. He began by talking about how he was born and raised in Westfield before he joined the military as an adult. Throughout his interview, he touted his military experience as a benefit to the department. He said that he was brought all over the world during his service, but that now he wants to come home to work.
“I like to help people. I like to serve my community,” said Morin.
He added that he wants to serve like he did in the military, but on a smaller scale that allows him to sleep in his own bed.
Morin decided that he wanted to become a firefighter sometime in 2013 or 2014. He took the Massachusetts Human Resources Department Civil Service test in 2016 and had done another interview for a fire department around that time.
The part of his military experience that he said will help him most is how he copes with stress related to the job. He said that both firefighting and being in the military are physically and emotionally stressful, and that he has learned to deal with such stress already while in the service.
Morin was hired unanimously by the Fire Commission, but it was noted before the vote took place that Morin was still a member of the military and could be deployed at any given time.
Lacas was then interviewed by the commission. She is a native of Westfield but moved away during high school and college before returning. She went to college for athletic training which she said can be applied to the EMT and paramedic aspects of the job. Lacas is currently in school to become a paramedic and expects to take the final test sometime in February.
She added that she decided to become a firefighter when she was taking an EMT course her Sophomore year. She has since been diligent in getting other certifications typically required of firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics.
“My parents raised me to help others when I can,” said Lacas.
Fire Chief Patrick Egloff has begun a policy that all new firefighter hires to the department must be certified paramedics, or in the process of being certified within a certain period of their date of hire.
Following her interview, Lacas was also hire unanimously by the Fire Commission. Chief Egloff said that there is no exact start date yet, but that it should take between two-and-a-half and four weeks to get both firefighters on board.
The commission also chose to hold a spot for Flaherty to interview when he returns from deployment.