The Newark Division of Fire has four new reasons to be thankful this week as they promoted four individuals to leadership positions.
During a Tuesday morning ceremony, Doug Vermaten was promoted to vice president, Allen Ashcraft was promoted to assistant chief, Todd Smith was promoted to captain, and Brandon Turner was promoted to first lieutenant.
The men have 84 years of experience in the fire service, two second-generation firefighters, four firefighting/EMS instructors, three with Lifesaving Medals, and three unit citations, said Newark Fire Chief Brandon Metzger. Storage, the three fathers of the future third-generation firefighters.
After the ceremony, Vermaten told The Advocate that it was an honor to serve the community in this new capacity.
“I spent my commute time with the paramedics here, all the way back… let’s just say several decades ago, and I fell in love with the city. I fell in love with the fire department. I had the chance to come here. I became a resident here,” said Vermaten. I got to serve the citizens and serve my brother and sister who are firefighters.”
According to Metzger, the four will be on a six-month probationary period, during which they will have the opportunity to train and mentor, as well as receive professional development opportunities.
“Any time we do a promotional ad in the fire service, specifically in our fire department, we try to memorialize that. It’s not just an opportunity for someone to change their uniform or change their location,” Metzger said. “It’s about volunteering and accepting the responsibility that comes with leadership. . Anytime we can realize that we are proud to be with their families for doing so.”
After 25 years in the fire service, Ashcraft said this promotion was the next step in his career. He said he is excited to have the opportunity to lead a shift and aims to do the best job possible for those on his shift.
Smith said the promotion gives him a sense of pride and accomplishment as his hard work is recognized. He said he also received a lot of support from his family and those in the firehouse, which helped him get to where he is today.
Turner said his promotion to first lieutenant on Tuesday meant everything to him.
“This was a dream I’ve had since day one walking into this place almost 14 years ago,” Turner said. “Today, I was finally able to fulfill that dream, so I am excited about the challenge, this next chapter, and excited to see what the future brings.”
A 25-year NFD veteran, Vermaaten graduated from Marietta High School before earning an associate’s degree from Hocking College in 1991. Vermaaten is responsible for the department’s Human Resources department. He completed a fire officer program at the Ohio Fire Academy and two programs, and is a certified officer through the Public Safety Experience Centers. Vermaaten is a former team captain for the Licking County HAZ-MAT team and a committee member of the Licking County Local Emergency Planning Committee. He was also the 2014 Newark Firefighter of the Year.
A member of the NFD since 1999, Ashcraft has served in nearly every capacity available to an officer in the department. He was also assigned to every station in Newark at some point and most recently served as station master at station five. Ashcraft serves as a fire instructor at the Career Education and Technology Centers in Lycoming County, and teaches at the Ohio State Fire Academy. Graduated from Watkins Memorial High School, Hawking College, and working towards completing his bachelor’s degree at Franklin University.
Smith graduated from Utica High School in 1996, and began his professional career with Newark in October 2003. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 2013. He serves as a fire instructor at C-TEC and leads the Junior Fire Program at the Newton Township Fire Department.
A 2005 graduate of Licking Valley High School, he earned his degrees from C-TEC and Central Ohio Technical College. He has been with the department since 2009 and is a certified EMS Continuing Education Instructor and CPR Instructor. Turner has been a member of the Newark Police Special Operations Group as a tactical medic since 2016 and has helped provide first aid training to the Newark Police Department. It also aids in active fire response training for police, schools, and local businesses.
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