Deputy Minister of Finance Samoa PZ Wolokolie Keynotes Fire Service Graduation Exercise—In Proxy For Finance Minister Samuel F. Tweah

Good morning!

I bring you greetings on behalf of the Honorable Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. I am Samora P.Z. Wolokolie, Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. It is an honor to proxy for my boss in serving as the GUEST SPEAKER for this auspicious occasion. Mr. Tweah has asked me to convey his sentiments and to inform you of his inability to be here today.

Let me begin by recognizing the immeasurable efforts of the President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah for his determination to transform and build a security sector that is well trained and disciplined. The continuous reform of the security sector is in line with the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

I will be remiss if I did not extend gratitude and appreciation to the leadership of the Liberia National Fire and Rescue Service for their hard work and gallantry in ensuring that the men and women of the force are well trained, ready, able, and available to protect lives and properties. I would also like to recognize our development partners for all of the support and cooperation they have accorded the various ministries, agencies and commissions. To the trainers, both foreign and local, I say a big thank you for the level of professionalism you have instilled in these graduates.

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, today is a significant milestone in the history of the Liberia Fire and Rescue Service as it graduates a new batch of highly trained service members for the task of ensuring that the mandate of the LFRS is carried out in an effective and efficient manner. To that end, let me at this time congratulate the graduates for a job well done and to admonish them to execute their task with a sense of commitment and patriotism. The journey they have embarked on is one of honor and dignity. People who sign up to protect lives and properties at the detriment of their own lives are selfless people, and we must recognize their efforts and support them in their endeavors.

We have all gathered here today for a singular purpose which is to serve as witnesses as each of you culminates your training program with the receipt of a certificate of completion. To the graduates, this is also the beginning of a hazardous, fulfilling, and life saving career. In your sojourn as a professional service personnel, there are very important standards that must guide your actions if you are to become that respected and model firefighter.

I can guarantee that it will not be as easy as you think to fulfill these standards. Some of you will have a harder time than others, but I urge you to remain dedicated and committed to the mission. Remembering what I have to say here today and becoming a devoted practitioner and staunch supporter of the following core values should lead you to a long, productive, and self fulfilling career.

The first standard you should set for yourself is the level of professionalism to which you will aspire. The word “professional” is no stranger to the fire service. Being a true professional comes from within the individual person. It is not the job of the instructors and trainers to teach you how to be professional. The key characteristics of professionalism are: Ethics, Accountability, integrity and Respect. To be ethical, you must stay in line with your moral principles. To be accountable is to be responsible for your actions and inactions. To have integrity is to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and honest in your dealings with your colleagues, your leaders and the public. And to show respect requires you to be disciplined and to interact with your colleagues, bosses and the public with decency and a sense of moral decorum.

There are some important values that you must adopt as you strive to be a professional firefighter. These values are: always treat all people, regardless of their status or background, the way in which you would like to be treated, always conduct yourself in an intelligent manner, always display a composed demeanor during emergency situations, and always perform to your highest level of competence.

The second standard is, you must become and remain passionate about your fire service career. This is the career to which you have dedicated your life. To be passionate is to have great enthusiasm and desire for a particular calling. As you sign up today to save lives and properties, it is our expectation that you would faithfully and diligently perform the tasks that are associated with being a successful and well regarded firefighter. In your journey you will come across many naysayers who will seek to discourage and demean you and the career path you have chosen. Many will question your decision to be a firefighter. Many would use negative stereotypes to mock you. Do not give up, and do not give in to their provations. Stay true to yourself and to the decision you have made to be a firefighter. Stay true to your passion, and you will reap many rewards throughout your career.

The third and final standard that you must adopt to become a successful and respected firefighter is DEDICATION.

Once you have developed the passion necessary to become an important part of the Liberia Fire and Rescue Service, you need to dedicate yourself to a particular course of action. Among your colleagues, you must be known and regarded for a particular course of action. Your work ethics, your output, and your desire to go beyond the call of duty to do the extraordinary will earn you respect among your peers and supervisors. You must set out to change the narrative of the Liberia Fire and Rescue Service for the better. Your actions and inactions should have a positive reflection on this noble institution. Being a fire service personnel is a worthy cause, and you must remain dedicated to the core values that govern the institution.

Finally, let me assure you that consistent with the pillars of the PAPD, the Government’s Development Plan, the Liberia Fire and Rescue Service will be modernized and provided the necessary equipment and incentives to make it a respectable, functioning and enviable institution. Through budgetary actions, concrete steps will be taken to provide more resources to the Liberia Fire and Rescue Service so that it can succeed in its mission of saving lives and properties.

Congratulations once more to the graduates. Let me conclude with the popular adage that says: A Firefighter does not respond to a fire with fire, he rather responds with water”. Go out into the world and make us proud.

Thank you and good day!

 

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