Milwaukee Fire Department recruit graduation, 35 join ranks

When tragedies unfold, we can always count on everyday heroes to run toward danger. One class of fire recruits is preparing to do just that.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, 35 men and women joined the ranks of the Milwaukee Fire Department with a lot to be thankful for. 

"It is a wonderful time to bring family together, and I think that’s what this is all about," said Travis Jones, MFD deputy chief.

For some, it's all in the family. Jaime Koralewski has become the first female in a family of firefighters to take on the role.

"My great-grandfather, my grandfather, my dad, three uncles on the job and two brothers," said Koralewski.

After 16 weeks of intensive training, the recruit class is ready for the field.

"How to solve problems that seem just downright unsolvable on a moment’s notice, under immense time pressure, truly with lives on the line," said Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski.

At the start of their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 24, a moment of silence was observed for the victims of Waukesha's Christmas Parade tragedy.  

"This job is going to be very challenging," said Jones.

Despite physical and mental training, Chief Lipski explained there will always be situations one simply cannot prepare for.

"I really don’t think there is a way to prepare someone for what happened out in Waukesha, for the absolute wickedness that one human being can bestow upon another, and the tragedy that lays in its wake," said Lipski.

Instead, they're given the tools and support needed to succeed.

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"The sad reality is, nowadays, they’re going to see some stuff, at the end of their career they'll wish they had never seen, but they’re going to handle it in a manner that makes us proud," said Lipski.

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