NORWALK, Conn. Four young men are serving Norwalk all day on Christmas in what one called "the best Christmas gift ever."
Andrew Kick, Edgar Lopez, Brian Kaley, and Whitney King were sworn in Friday as Norwalk firefighters after graduating from the Connecticut Fire Academy Thursday.
"It's incredible how it worked out, the best Christmas gift ever," said Lopez, who grew up in Bridgeport next to an engine and ladder company full of firefighters who inspired him. He has fond memories of Norwalk, having come here to play in high school football games and to visit the Maritime Aquarium. His father worked for a time at a print shop in Norwalk.
"When I originally wanted to become a firefighter, I tested everywhere I could. This just happened to be the second test I took," he said. "It also happened to be the city I most wanted to work in."
Family members were invited to take part in a pinning ceremony after the men were sworn in.
Patrick Kaley said his son was an Eagle Scout and captain of his high school lacrosse team in Yorktown, N.Y., and never missed a game in four years. "This is a good fit for him, he works well with people," said the elder Kaley, a member of the Scarsdale, N.Y., fire department.
King said he had been a volunteer fireman in Vermont for four years. The fire academy was a "very intense training program."
"It's been a long hard road but it's paid off," said King, who recently moved to Norwalk with his girlfriend. He is happy to have joined the NFD, a "great department with some great traditions."
Joan Kick of New Milford said her son has wanted to be a firefighter for a long time. "The interesting thing is he was afraid of fires when he was younger," she said. She lived on Stuart Avenue here as a child, from when she was 2 years old to when she was 15. "It's a bit of a big circle," she said. "He's coming back."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.