AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Speakers at the Augusta Fire Department’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday recognized and honored the accomplishments of the 14 recruits of class 2201.

“I know each and every one of you are extremely excited for this opportunity,” said Takiyah Douse, the interim administrator for Richmond County. “And I highly esteem you on behalf of not only the Augusta Commission, but also the entire city of Augusta.”

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis was also there to express his gratitude and offer advice to the new firefighters.

“You serve because you want to protect,” he said. “You want to rescue, you want to make life better for those of us that are here. Thank you and may God bless each and every one of you.”

Some of the graduates were presented advanced EMT, perseverance and class choice awards.

After the class was pinned by their family members, they were given their final command by their trainers and are ready to serve the community.

“It feels amazing,” said Coleton Cohen, one of the graduates. “It was a lot of time spent, a lot of hard work spent, blood sweat and tears.”

Fire Chief Antonio Burden said after nine months of training, class 2201’s hard work definitely paid off.

“You all are the highest trained class of any other group of men and women before you,” he said.