The Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services graduated its newest batch of firefighters last Friday at Fiesta Resort & Spa’s Hibiscus Hall. Among the 11th Cycle Academy graduates was Bobbie Jean Taisacan, 25, Rota’s first-ever female firefighter.
“I pursued this because I wanted to give back to the community and make my family proud,” she told Saipan Tribune in an interview. “…I have been inspired by so many people and I have tried different places, different jobs, and pursuits and I ended up where I wanted to be.”
She added that working in the fire department is her true passion. She plans to hone her skills further when she begins work on her home island of Rota and eventually further her education as well.
She urges the islands’ youth to never give up. “Anyone can do it. We can all do it. You have to find it in your heart and want it. That’s how I prepared myself…that’s what kept me going because I wanted it so bad,” she said.
Taisacan was joined by fellow firefighters from around the CNMI. The graduating class was comprised of 26 new firefighters from Saipan, six from Tinian, and six from Rota.
The cadets received their certificates after four months of intensive studying at the Northern Marianas College and training on the field.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog, members of the Legislature, and officials from the Western Pacific Association of Fire Chiefs were among the standing-room-only audience who congratulated the graduates.
Zackery S. Yamagishi and Nipighiyong T. Laniyo were this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Christopher F. Hocog received the Governor’s Leadership Award, while Jamaal L. Mresbang was recognized as the “most physically fit” graduate.
Northern Marianas College interim president David Attao lauded the graduates for their success in completing their classes. He told the group, “You educated yourself through an accredited institution. Your certificate and degrees as you move forward will carry on throughout your life. At NMC we strive to make partnerships and dreams a reality. These students, our dreams, are now our reality.”
Torres echoed Attao’s remarks, “Take the badge that you have with pride. Your family is proud of you.”
He added that the administration pledges to support DFEMS. “We’ve seen them go through the training and they are always coming as a group, never alone. We are stronger as a group. It’s everyone’s obligation to protect each other in the same way you protect those who need protection,” he added.
For his part, DFEMS Commissioner Claudio K. Norita urged the new firefighters to discuss any issues they see in the system. He reminded them to avail of the opportunities that the department provides.
“There’s a lot of opportunities to develop yourself…” he said. “You know what you are doing. You are being trained to do what you do. Do your job now and provide the critical service.”