WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Watervliet Fire Department welcomed two new firefighters to their squad.

Lifelong residents of the city, Evan Cote and Kenneth Keefer were sworn in at the Watervliet Senior Center. Friends and family of the two men were overjoyed to witness the next chapter of their lives begin.

“I’m very thankful for everyone along the way that has helped moved me into where I am today and helped mold me,” Cote explained.

A member of the volunteer fire at Shaker Road Loudonville since 2014, Cote is also a member of the NYS Guard unit as a Fire Support Specialist. Keefer is a member of the Schuyler Heights Fire Department and graduated from Schenectady County Community College as an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology. Both men have their certifications as Emergency Medical Technicians.

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“Being able to help somebody else out when they need help, just a great feeling, to be able to go out and help someone,” Keefer described.

Mayor Charles Patricelli was in attendance to swear in the two firefighters. He sees these men as perfect fits for their new roles on the department.

“These are terrific candidates. I think they have a true passion for this. It isn’t just a job, it’s something that they really want to do. We are so lucky to have these two, and the ones we have had in the past,” Patricelli said.

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Lieutenant Paramedic of Watervliet Vincent Ellis was also there to witness the event. Ellis backed up the mayor’s view of the new hires.

“These two new recruits have hands on experience, volunteering with local departments. That’s going to be a big help. They are going to come in knowing all the gear, the equipment, what they are going to see, Ellis said.

Unlike other fire departments, Watervliet does not face a staffing shortage. According to the county office, the department has now grown to 25 total members.

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“We knew immediately that we were losing two of our firefighters and we immediately went through the list and started our interviews and selected two of these candidates,” Patricelli explained.