"I first got interested in the fire department coming out of high school, which was over 20 years ago."
For graduate Russell Amimot , dreams became reality on Friday.
Recruits underwent 1200 hours of rigorous training both physically AND mentally.
"Luckily along the way I had a lot of other help from my recruit members and of course my family and my friends were essential for me for getting through this," Amimoto says. Despite the addition of seventeen new recruits into Fire Department, Hawaii Fire Fighters Association President, Bobby Lee, says staffing has always been an issue statewide. "We're still anywhere from 50 to 75 firefighters short at this time."
Honolulu Fire Captain, Scot Seguirant, says "Usually we shoot for about 50. That's the target that we look for, but we can't always get that. In this case we started with 28, and ended up graduating 17."
Lee says last year, nearly 50 fire fighters decided to retire or leave HFD.