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CKFR pins three new captains
"In a brief but moving ceremony, three lieutenants received brand new captain's pins while friends and families looked on at Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue's Board of Commissioners meeting July 10.Lieutenants Joe Repar, Mike Tague and Paul Stewart were promoted to captain, a new position created to reduce the workload for Batallion Chief Jay Lovato and provide an always-available commanding officer for the three fire shifts.This is a big step for us, Chief Steve Bigelow said.Stewart has been with CKFR for 24 years, starting in 1976 as a volunteer firefighter. In 1980 he was hired as a career firefighter-paramedic and, in 1984, he was promoted to lieutenant. He said creating the captain position is a good way of streamlining the flow of information within the department. Currently, we have 12 lieutenants who report to Chief Lovato, he said. Now, three lieutenants each report to three captains, who in return report to Lovato.Lovato said he was becoming overwhelmed with the concerns of 12 lieutenants working three different shifts in three different stations. It was much too unwieldy. Now, the information flow is much better. The three lieutenants will funnel their concerns to the captain and, if they can't handle it, they'll call me, he said.Furthermore, the captains, based out of Station 51 on Silverdale Way, will work 24-hour shifts, making them immediately available any time during the shift. Currently, Lovato, whose position is more administrative, leaves at 5 p.m. and has weekends off.The three captains will be based out of Station 51 for consistency, Lovato said. They use a lot of the same tools.Stewart said they are hoping for standardization among the three fire stations (Silverdale Way's 51, Old Military's 41 and Seabeck's 56) - coordinating schedules, training locations and day-to-day activities.The three captains raised their right hands and swore an oath of office amid camera flashes. Family members approached to pin the shiny badges on their lapels, hugging and congratulating them before they signed their oaths of office.The captains, who went through a two-day testing process, will serve a one-year probation period with CKFR. We've been orienting these people for the past several days. Their families are happy to have them home for dinner - that's something new for them, Bigelow said."