WEIRTON - Weirton city officials welcomed a new resident and rank to the Weirton Fire Department on Tuesday as a new probationary firefighter was sworn in surrounded by family and friends.
Thomas Baumgardener, originally from central Florida, was greeted by officials with the city administration and members of the Weirton Fire Department as Mayor George Kondik conducted the swearing in ceremony.
Kondik said it was a difficult decision in selecting a new firefighter as three qualified individuals were up for the position. He said Baumgardener's background helped make the final choice.
The City of Weirton welcomed a new resident and rank to the Weirton Fire Department as Mayor George Kondik swore in Thomas Baumgardener as a probationary firefighter on Tuesday. Pictured from left is Fire Chief Jerry Shumate, Baumgardener, Mayor George Kondik and City Manager Valerie Means. -- Angelina Dickson
"We anticipate many years of dedication and are pleased to have young people and families move to the area willing to enter into service in the fire department," he said.
Knowing he wanted to serve the public in some capacity, Baumgardener studied criminal justice in preparation for a career in the field. While studying criminal justice may not help him fight fires, he said he wanted to be in a hands-on job that would not leave him behind a desk and feels the Weirton Fire Department would provide a great opportunity.
"I am planning to turn this into a long career move," he said.
Baumgardener said he has been to the area and knows his way around fairly well. He said his fiancee is from the area and that helped him make the decision to move.
Fire Chief Jerry Shumate said the department is excited to have Baumgardener on board. He said Baumgardener comes with no experience in fire fighting and will be spending a great deal of time training, but had very good references.
"He's a very intelligent young man and we look forward to working with him," said Shumate.
(Dickson can be contacted at email@example.com)