RYE, N.Y. -- During an upbeat, optimistic City Hall ceremony, Rye welcomed two new police officers and two new career firefighters -- including the first woman in the history of the Rye Fire Department.
The 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were mentioned by several public officials who were at the World Trade Center that day -- including Rye Mayor Joe Sack. "It's still hard to believe and it still breaks you up,'' Sack said.
The timing and significance of Friday's swearing-in ceremony was clear to the new hires and audience of about 100 family, friends, fellow patrol officers and firefighters.
"Their loss is our gain," one of Rye Fire Department's officers said of budget cuts in Port Chester that led to Rye hiring two of the neighboring village's career firefighters.
Welcoming remarks were made by Rye Fire Chief Mike Billington and Lt. Kurt Tietjen.
Rye's two new firefighters include its first-ever career woman -- Cea Fong, who served in Port Chester for 18 months. The other career firefighter sworn in on Friday --bringing Rye's paid total to 17 firefighters -- is Ryan M. Iarocci, who served in Port Chester for four years. Rye also is served by volunteer firefighters.
Rye Police Department hired two new patrol officers who had been serving the New York Police Department in the Bronx: Chad Delgado and Alexander F. Whalen.
Rye Police Commissioner Michael C. Corcoran Jr said that Whalen also served as a lieutenant with the Katonah Fire Department and that Delgado served two years in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy.
Rye City Manager Marcus Serrano said, “We take the responsibility of appointing any staff very seriously and understand the importance of this responsibility."
The gathering was all smiles as Rye's finest congratulated Rye's bravest, for careers that Serrano and Corcoran said they hope will last decades after a "very severe vetting process."
That prompted Mayor Sack to joke: "I don't think I could survive a severe vetting process. . . . What makes Rye City government so great is its people. You are now part of the City of Rye. I look forward to seeing you on the streets."
Check back to Daily Voice for video from Friday's ceremony.