SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Eager Sacramento Metro Fire recruits have crossed the finish line into a new career.

Thursday, 34 men will graduate from the Metro Fire academy. But 20 of them had a leg up into these coveted jobs.

Mike Gaub muscles through the firefighter combat challenge. It’s a series of physical challenges that takes about two minutes and leaves recruits exhausted.

This is the finale to the 14-week Metro Fire academy.

“Mentally and physically this was the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” Gaub said.

Recruit Gaub isn’t exactly new to the district. A paramedic for five years, he’s spent this past year working for Metro Fire.

“I don’t expect to have any special treatment, nor do I think that I will get any,” Gaub said.

The Vacaville native is one of 20 Metro Fire paramedics who are now climbing the ranks thanks to a new promotional program.

“Previously, our ambulances were staffed by fire medics, which means they’re firefighters and paramedics,” said Metro Fire Capt. Michelle Eidam.

But since March of 2013, the district has hired people to work solely as paramedics. When firefighter positions open, those paramedics then have their foot in the door.

“Basically, it gives them a year or two years, however long they’re here. They’re hired to prove themselves and to show ‘I’m a good employee,’” Eidam said.

Wednesday’s accomplishment is not just a career marker for Gaub, but a major life accomplishment.

“I have a scar that goes from ear-to-ear on the top of my head,” Mike said.

After having a brain bleed and surgery in college, he had to re-learn to use his entire left side.

“When you’re at the top of that tower, I found myself thinking, ‘When it was tough and I wanted to walk down and grab water, just remember how you were eight years ago,’” Mike said.

Thursday, Gaub and the rest of his classmates will transition from recruits to firefighters.

“It’s gonna be amazing. Cannot wait,” Mike said.


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