The Hopkinsville Fire Department formally recognized six interdepartmental promotions as well as two department retirees during their first in-person ceremony of 2021 on Tuesday, June 1.
Promoted to the rank of lieutenant were Jeff Nunley, Joshua Buxton, Justin Lamb and Bobby Hogge.
During the ceremony, Curtis Nightingale and Jessica Burnett were promoted to the rank of captain.
Reflecting on his promotion ceremony, Lieutenant Jeff Nunley said, “Everything overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming to understand that I’ve even gotten this far.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t feel real. You look up there and see all the ones that have been promoted and all of their accomplishments and that I’m there.”
This year celebrates Nunly’s 13th year in HFD.
He got into firefighting after taking his two children to a fire station open house 18 years ago.
At the open house, Nunly said that one of the firefighters had asked him if he had ever thought about giving back to his community.
“The next week I joined,” Nunly said.
Nunly said being able to help the community and people around is the greatest th.
“Showing up to people who are having their worst day and making a difference and saving lives is the most rewarding part,” Nunly said.
Promotion to lieutenant requires a written test, interview and a hands-on problem solving portion.
“Those prospective lieutenants go through multiple different scenarios in order to gauge how they would take command of a scene,” Hopkinsville Fire Department Public Information Officer Peyton Rogers said.
“The whole process evaluates their ability to supervise and lead.”
The promotion also requires three years of service as a certified firefighter as a prerequisite.
Tuesday’s in-person ceremony celebrated delayed accomplishments due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Rogers detailed.
“We took advantage of Tuesday to recognize them and formally present them their promotion badges and have families present,” Rogers said.
Since the COVID-19 hit the community, Rogers explained that the fire stations were closed to the families and firefighters
HFD’s rank structure begins at lieutenant and then progresses to captain, battalion chief, and then upper chiefs, Rogers said.
“Lieutenant is essentially a company officer,” Rogers said.
“He/She is in charge of that particular station’s personnel.”
There are currently 12 lieutenants and six captains within the Hopkinsville Fire Department.
“For the last captain process, had to be at least eight years as a paid professional fireman, and at least three years had to be as lieutenant. They also need to be a level one fire instructor,” Rogers said.
Captain Kevin Quarles and Lieutenant Jeff Slaughter were also recognized for their service to the community and congratulated for their retirements.
Hopkinsville Mayor Wendell Lynch was also in attendance to celebrate the momentous occasion.
“We just want to thank the mayor for coming out and helping us with the ceremony.
“We were all tucked in for 2020 for the most part. Families weren’t allowed in the stations, we weren’t really allowed out in the public.”
“It was kind of refreshing to get everybody together to just recognize the promotions and the retirees as well. We were thrilled to have the mayor there as well,” Rogers said.