One of the newest members of the Omaha Fire Department was no stranger to physical conditioning.
Former Husker offensive tackle Fred Pollack, who played from 1994 to 1997, was among 47 graduates Thursday who became firefighters.
Pollack reflected on the challenges his class faced in more than 600 hours of training.
“We have climbed a 110-foot ladder on a windy day, we dove out of a second-story window and spun down a ladder, we have been blindfolded and trapped in a confined space,'' Pollack said.
The new firefighters will get a starting pay of $49,271.
The city now has 652 firefighters, which restores the Fire Department to full staffing, said Battalion Chief Tim McCaw.
Fire Chief Michael McDonnell said many of the graduates have family members who have served or are currently on staff. He noted that Dan Goessling's father, Capt. John Goessling, died in an arson fire April 23, 1996.
Dan, 32, and his brothers Josh, 36, and Nate, 28, have all become firefighters.
Dan Goessling said his father and brothers inspired him. “We all understand the risk associated with the job,” he said.
The graduates are: Terrence Almond, Timothy Benak, Joshua Berens, Dylan Blankenship, Daniel Bodammer, Jeremy Bryant, Edward Camenzind III, Lawrence Chandler III, Wesley Dacus, Nelson Decker, Michael Erickson, Justin Fender, Michael Findeis, Dan Goessling, Vincenzo Guido, Corbin Hamernik, Kyle Herold, Kelly Knight, Anthony Koesters, John Kohlbek Jr., Thomas Korpela III, Brett Loffer, Brad Lucas, Andrew Luethge, Kramer Martin, Nicholas McKenzie, Derek McMillin, Nick Neneman, David North, Jeremiah Omoto, Derek Panneton, David Parker, Fred Pollack, Thomas Pulte, Marcus Ricks, Christopher Sachs, Brett Sledge, Jeffrey Sova, David Studsdahl, Matthew Sullivan, Dru Taylor, Brian Thorson, Christopher Vacek, Matthew Wickham, Christopher Wieker, Gina Wood and Lydia Zaragosa.