Sandpoint council honors area firefighters

SANDPOINT – It’s fitting that, on a day honoring firefighters, the town of Sandpoint held a pinning ceremony to recognize Zach Ukich’s new rank as captain.

The ceremony was part of an effort by Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad and the city council to honor the city’s firefighters on International Firefighters Day.

International Firefighters Day is observed annually across much of the world on May 4, in remembrance of five Australian firefighters who lost their lives fighting a fire in the Australian state of Victoria on December 2, 1998.

May 4 was chosen because of the connection between firefighters and St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, chimney sweeps and brewers. The date is recognized as a feast day in the Catholic faith for St. Florian. This is also why the Cross of St. Florian remains a common symbol for firefighters and the organizations that support them. Now, May 4 is a day that honors not the patron saint of firefighters, but the service and sacrifice of firefighters around the world.

“Including here at Sandpoint, where we greatly appreciate and appreciate our firefighters and recognize their countless contributions to our community every day,” Rognstad said.

After thanking area firefighters for their service, the mayor and members of council attended another long-standing firefighter tradition: a pinning ceremony. The ceremony is held to bestow upon a firefighter their new badge when they achieve a new rank.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, Selkirk Fire and Lifesaving Chief Gavin Gilcrease promoted Zach Ukich to captain. An honor granted to those who complete their preliminary training, but which also marks the beginning of a career that will require diligence and extreme concentration.

As is tradition, Ukich was allowed to choose one member of his family to receive his pin, his eldest daughter Presley received this privilege. Along with his wife Cody and youngest daughter Nora, Ukich made the transition from firefighter to fire officer, made especially special by receiving this honor on a day that honors firefighters around the world.

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