On Tuesday, the Marion City Council welcomed five new members of the city’s Fire Department and recognized a veteran of the department for earning certifications

Fire Chief Ray McDaniel introduced the five new firefighters. They were hired with the awarding of the Safer grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

They are: Lewis McSwain, who previously worked for Columbus Fire Department and works at multiple fire departments on a part-time basis. Lewis is an instructor with the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM).

Kevin Hughes, who previously worked at the McDowell 911 Center and is the fire chief of Parkway Fire and Rescue and is an instructor with OSFM.

Caleb Eller, who previously worked at Oak Ridge Fire and Rescue in Guilford County and works at multiple fire departments on a part-time basis. Eller is an instructor with OSFM

Greg Bryan, who is a volunteer at Pleasant Gardens Fire Department and serves as a lieutenant engineer there with more than 20 years of service in fire and rescue.

Kelly Ballard, who is a volunteer with the Spruce Pine Fire Department and has been dedicated to the fire service for the past few years attending classes and getting certifications to better herself.

McDaniel also told the City Council members about how firefighter Chris Clark obtained his Firefighter Level 1 and 2 certifications from the N.C. Department of Insurance/Office of State Fire Marshal. Clark started working at the Marion Fire Department in December of 2017 after transferring from the city’s Public Works Department. This certification work involved 22 classes with about 340 hours of training, said McDaniel.

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