During the College of the Mainland Fire Academy graduation, Sean Hendry, left, won the President’s Award and Highest Class Average Award for serving as class president and earning the highest GPA. Instructor Stan Kozlowski, right, presented the award withDirector of Fire Technology Danny McLerran, right, presents Donn Stewart with the Top Rung Award, the College of the Mainland Fire Academy’s highest honor. During the College of the Mainland Fire Academy graduation, COM instructors Greg Obert, right, and Stan Kozlowski, center, presented student Austin Brinkley with the Instructors’ Award.

Standing out as exemplary among an outstanding group of 12 cadets, three students were honored at the COM Fire Academy graduation Dec. 12.

Sean Hendry won the President’s Award and Highest Class Average Award, Austin Brinkley earned the Instructors’ Award, and Donn Stewart received the Top Rung Award.

“The Presidents Award is given to the class president, who serves as a leader throughout the academy. The Instructors’ Award is given to the student who stands out to instructors,” explained Fire Academy Director Danny McLerran. "The Top Rung Award is our highest award, given to the individual that performs at an exceptional level in all areas: classroom, physical skills and leadership.
Hendry, 29, came to the COM Fire Academy on a friend’s recommendation and assisted classmates and professors throughout the program.
“In the leadership role I gained a lot of friendships. I feel like I had an influence on other people’s lives as well as they had an influence on mine,” said Hendry.
Coming from a family with several firefighters, Brinkley knew the role in which he wanted to serve.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I enjoyed every second of it,” said Brinkley.
Stewart, 27, of Texas City, was hired by the Texas City Fire Department and sent to COM for training.
“If you’re enthusiastic and willing to attempt it, the (instructors) will work with you,” said Stewart.
The one-semester program taught by career firefighters includes classroom lectures and activities, hands-on firefighting skills and physical education training.

“It was a good class academically,” said McLerran. “I'm proud to say we have one of the best programs and some of the best students.”
After graduating, students are eligible to take the TCFP's Fire Suppression Exam, and on passing the exam may apply for Basic Fire Suppression certification pending completion of an approved medical first responder course.

COM graduates have achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the state certifications for several continuous years.
For additional information regarding COM's Fire Academy, visit www.com.edu/fire-technology