The Iowa City Fire Department welcomed two new firefighters during a badge-pinning ceremony at Fire Station 4 on Friday, Feb. Feb. 18, 2022. The department also announced a promotion and two commendations.
Firefighter Sal Aleto is from Creston. Aleto was hired for the position of firefighter and has been assigned to Shift A at Station 1. Firefighter Chris Kenly is originally from Southern California and previously served as a volunteer firefighter in Fairfield. Kenly was hired for the position of firefighter and assigned to Shift C at Station 1.
Firefighters Aleto and Kenly have completed the department's six-week orientation.
Firefighter Collin Wellsandt was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on Jan. 5, 2022. Lt. Wellsandt is a 10-year veteran of the fire department and a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University. Lt. Wellsandt has also served as a shift EMS Coordinator, Inspector and Investigator in the Fire Prevention Bureau, and child passenger seat technician. He is a member of the ICFD Honor Guard and will oversee a three-person engine company on Shift A at Station 3.
Firefighter Ben Caskey was given the department's Lifesaver Award. In June 2018, while off-duty in the waiting area at the Iowa City Driver's License Station, Caskey noticed someone lose consciousness. Caskey noted the person was not breathing and had no pulse. Caskey performed CPR until the person began breathing, regained consciousness, and was transferred to the care of an ambulance crew.
Firefighter Janet Vest was the first recipient of the department's Chief James Clark Lifetime Achievement Award. Vest was recognized for more than three decades of compassionate and dedicated public service. Throughout her career, Vest has been involved with Fire Prevention Week, Safety Village, and a multitude of programs and initiatives.
"Over the course of years and emergencies that number in the tens of thousands, Firefighter Vest has demonstrated that no matter the time, place, or challenge, she will be there for those who need her," said Interim Fire Chief Eric Nurnberg. "We know this not only because she personifies exceptional community service, but because she cares so well for her co-workers and their families."