City's financial woes eased with 55 new firefighter recruits - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

City's financial woes eased with 55 new firefighter recruits

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By: Alexandra Cowley

For the first time in several years, the Providence fire department is welcoming in new recruits.

The city's financial problems are actually giving 55 men and women the chance to become a firefighter.

Of the 3–thousand who applied, 55 made it to the end, passing a written and physical agility test.

"Everything that you do from this day forward has an impact on the City of Providence," said Mayor Angel Taveras.

The new recruits were brought in to help with the departments financial problems. Mayor Taveras says overtime was costing taxpayers millions, and by bringing in the new firefighters, it will save much needed money for the cash strapped city.

"We're talking about a million dollars net savings, even when you take into account everything that you have to pay out in terms of salary and everything,"said Taveras.

While this training is helping the city's bottom line, it's also the start of an exciting career for these anxious recruits. The room of recruits was full of emotions as the creme of the crop was welcomed to their first day of training.

"I was a little nervous, a little anxious, absolutely anxious," said Raymond Heroux.

"Always wanted to do this ever since I was a kid, my dad was a firefighter," said John Woolley.

19-year-old John Woolley and 42-year-old Raymond Heroux are the youngest and oldest of the recruiting class. At their ages, making it to the top wasn't easy, and with the city's tight budget, they knew this opportunity was rare.

"It's exciting you know, it's like an honor because I'm the youngest guy,"said Woolley.

Heroux said, "To be able to do something at this point in my life, we get to help other people, being able to serve the city at my age and do something different, start a whole new career, something I want to do, I'm grateful thankful."

After 22 weeks of rigorous written and physical tests the 55 men and women recruits will be able to call themselves Providence firefighters.

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