CHICAGO (CBS) — The newest class of paramedics was welcomed to the Chicago Fire Department Thursday.
The celebration comes as the city and departments mourn the loss of fallen firefighter Juan Bucio, the veteran dive-team member who died Memorial Day while trying to rescue a boater in the Chicago River.READ MORE: Charges To Be Filed Soon In Connection With Shooting Death Of 8-Year-Old Melissa Ortega
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reports since March, the class of recruits has been training for this moment. With the joyous event, it was also a time to pause and remember the fallen firefighter.
32 of the Chicago Fire Department’s newest paramedics took their oath.
“This has been my dream since high school, since I first thought about doing this career,” said Kellie Newcomer, a paramedic graduate. “This is the best day of my life.”
“This is the first graduation in the shadows of a tragic event,” stated Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Juan Bucio sacrificed everything for the city that he loved.”READ MORE: Ald. Carrie Austin Thanks City Council, Mayor For Support After Her Collapse At December Meeting
Heads hung heavy in a moment of silence, honoring Juan Bucio.
“We are all excited, but we know we lost one of our family members and that’s never going to change,” stated Newcomer.
As the new paramedics pose for pictures wearing their new badges, the black band served as a dark reminder of Bucio’s sacrifice.
“We know this is part of the job and we accept that,” Kellie Newcomer said.MORE NEWS: Illinois State Police Create Statewide Expressway Shooting Dashboard; Providing Data And Context To Reported Shootings Throughout The State
The paramedics say they understand what their job entails and are prepared to serve the city.