The upper echelon of the Carson City Fire Department was radically transformed Monday with the emotional swearing-in of a new chief, assistant chief and battalion chief.
More than 100 people attended the nearly two-hour luncheon at Piñon Plaza on Monday afternoon as new Carson Fire Chief Stacey Giomi, Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Van Cleemput and Battalion Chief Bob Charles received their badges, pinned on by their proud - at times weepy - friends and family.
The banquet room was a sea of blue and white uniforms, with all off-duty and many on-duty firefighters attending with their families. A few firefighters were called to an emergency in the middle of the festivities to the sound of high-pitched radio tones.
The fledgling Carson Fire Honor Guard successfully performed its first ceremony, complete with chill-inspiring bagpipes and a flag presentation.
Giomi appeared close to tears while thanking his family, friends and co-workers for their support through the many years of training and late nights that eventually led to his new status as chief.
"This is beginning to feel like the Academy Awards," Giomi said, pausing between thank-yous to his wife Trish, kids Robbie, 21 and Stephanie, 19, and mother Elizabeth. "Bear with me."
He quoted "Footprints in the Sand," a poem he said reflects the work of others in his life as crucial, divine support.
"No one person can go through life by themselves," Giomi said. "They need the support of families and friends, and I believe we're responsible for creating footprints in someone else's life."
Throughout the department, Giomi is known for his ability to inspire teamwork and his positive, genuinely compassionate attitude toward the public and his co-workers.
Mayor Marv Teixeira swore in the new chiefs, and City Manager Linda Ritter, former Fire Chief Bernard Sease and Firefighters Association President Bob Schreihans offered their words of support.
Ritter, who appointed Giomi, said "the choice was very easy." Giomi filled in for former chief Lou Buckley during last July's Waterfall fire, and she said the work he did was exemplary.
"He had a real concern for the community and represented the city very well," Ritter said.
Listing several character distinctions between a boss and a leader, Ritter proclaimed Giomi a leader.
Schreihans agreed, and said Giomi would take the department in a positive direction.
"We've had the boss," Schreihans said. "(Giomi) is the leadership this department needs."
Giomi was hired as a dispatcher for the department in 1983, and promoted up the ranks, through every position from firefighter in 1984 to assistant chief in 2003.
Assistant Chief Cleemput, pinned by his wife, Cindy, was also a celebrated addition to the Carson Fire Department family.
He's been involved with fire service for more than 30 years, hired by the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District, and he has also held every rank from firefighter to fire chief.
"He brings professionalism, humor and compassion," Giomi said, thanking Van Cleemput for taking the job. "He's the total package."
Battalion Chief Bob Charles was hired as a firefighter/paramedic in 1989 and was instrumental in forming the Carson City Regional Fire Academy. Pinned by his teary-eyed girlfriend Kayla, Charles appeared moved by the promotion and Giomi's praise.
"Bob Charles brings an energy, excitement and a strong passion to his position," Giomi said.
To end his speech and the ceremony, Giomi quoted American automobile industry pioneer Henry Ford:
"Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success."
Monday's banquet luncheon and honor guard presentation was funded by the Carson City Firefighters Association.
Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at email@example.com or 888-0564.