KFD promotes two to engineer

Aaron Kennen and Andrew Snodgrass have their new badges pinned to them by their wives Jillian and Krystyl at the pinning ceremony on Friday, June 24, at Keizer Fire District. (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)

Those blue fire trucks around town have a couple of new drivers. 

In front of friends, family and coworkers, Aaron Kennen and Andrew Snodgrass were officially promoted to engineer at the Keizer Fire District in a ceremony held on Friday, June 24.

“It’s awesome to see the culture and the pride coming through,” Snodgrass said.

Kennen saw the ceremony not just as a celebration for Snodgrass and himself, but a chance for the entire station to reflect on the work put in by all. 

“At the same time they’re recognizing me and Andrew, they’re also recognizing the kind of effort they put in to help us out,” Kennen said. “We’re a big family here.”

And family was a key part to Friday’s ceremony. 

When it came time for Kennen and Snodgrass to have their new badges pinned, it was their wives Jillian and Krystyl that did the honors.

“It’s a tradition that goes across the fire service and goes back centuries and to have that happen today is huge,” Snodgrass said. “There’s a lot of awesome traditions being continued here.”

Kennen said that he knows his career choice isn’t easy on his wife, but that he thinks she shares in the sense of pride standing up there with him.

“She puts up with a lot, obviously. This is a career that causes a lot of stress and it’s hard on you. Through her encouraging me to not only go for promotion but also just to be good at my job and try to advance, that requires a lot of support from not only the people that work here but also my wife.”

The brief ceremony was led by Hector Blanco, the Training, Safety and Health Division Chief. Blanco said he always enjoys being able to present the firefighters with something they’ve earned. 

And while the machines may have changed in the 30 years since Blanco was promoted, the responsibilities haven’t, he said. 

“When you wake up at two o’clock in the morning, you’re pretty groggy,” Blanco said. “And to think you’re going to get behind the wheel of a piece of machinery that weighs that much, with other people jumping in the rig that you’re responsible for.”