Fire Department swears in new members, honors promotions at pinning ceremony

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Assistant Fire Chief George McKinnon and his wife Kristie are given congratulations from the audience of the North Attleborough Middle School at the NAFD pinning ceremony. Staff Photo/Adam Bass
Fire Alarm Superintendent James Kern receives his pin from his wife Jill at the pinning ceremony on Jan 23. Staff Photo/Adam Bass

abass@northstarreporter.com

When a fire engine or emergency vehicle is parked by a school building, one might think a fire drill or emergency situation is underway.

On the evening of Jan. 23, however, fire engines and ambulances were lined up outside of the North Attleborough Middle School, not for an emergency, but for a ceremony to honor the promotions and swear in new North Attleborough Fire Department members.

Those who received pins for new promotions included Assistant Chief of Operations George McKinnon, Fire Alarm Superintendent James Kern, Capt. Scott Langille, and Lt. Richard Cullen. New firefighters Andres Nunez, Michael Gilligan and Tyler Ruggiero were sworn into the department by Town Clerk Patricia McNielly.

Family and friends of the firefighters were given the honor of placing the pins on their uniforms as the audience clapped and cheered for every member being recognized that night. NAFD Chief Christopher Coleman congratulated the new firefighters and praised them for their hard work and dedication.

“This is a great night for the department,” Coleman said. “Everyone worked hard for their promotions, and the new firefighters will be a great night for the department.”

Jill Kern, the wife of James Kern, said she was proud of her husband’s promotion and was grateful to place the pin on his chest.

“We’ve been married for three years now,” Kern said. “I’m excited to see him continue what he’s up to.”

Additionally, a celebration was held for firefighters who have served the department for 25 and 30 years, respectively. Capt. Michale Bristol and Fire Alarm Superintendent James Kern were awarded the 25-year service award. Lt. Shaw Brillion and firefighter Michael Mullen received the 30-year service award. The ceremony also recognized Fire Alarm Superintendent James Moriarty, who retired from the force on June 24, 2023.

In a speech to the firefighters and guests, George McKinnon said those who are part of the NAFD are some of the best firefighters Massachusetts has to offer and that those who dedicate themselves to the force are making a positive difference.

“Being a firefighter and getting promoted is not an individual accomplishment,” McKinnon said. To be a firefighter or an officer, you need a great support system. We thank you for being there for supporting us during these times and the times in between.”