Emotional West EMS Graduation Ceremony Held

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WEST (July 26, 2013) - An emotional graduation ceremony was held for West EMS Friday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

The class was in session the night of the West explosion and four of their classmates were killed.

"Just to get them up here today, to honor them for what they've accomplished and what they've been through is a privilege," West EMS Board President Kevin Walters said.

Cyrus Reed, Perry Calvin, Kevin Sanders and Jerry Chapman were among the 12 first responders killed in the April 17th explosion.

Their EMT training was supposed to end one week later.

Families of the fallen were given an honorary EMT certificate to symbolize all the hard work their loved one had put in to being a first responder.

West EMS Director Tom Marek said a memorial for four men will be hung in the new West EMS building.

The department's old building was completely destroyed in the blast.

"They're finished with the EMT class," Marek said. "The only thing they lack is an exam and then they'll be able to hit the streets."

Graduate Jeffery Sanders said he plans to take his exam Monday.

"I want to get my badge," Sanders said. "I want to be more of a member of this community. I know every call could be my last but I am willing to make that last call."