Mayor Alan Keck officially swears in group during Sunday ceremony
SOMERSET, KENTUCKY (May 16, 2022) — Somerset Fire Department’s new chief and nine firefighters took the oath Sunday afternoon during a swearing-in ceremony at Station 1.
Standing before their families, friends, fellow firefighters, and local officials, these first responders swore to uphold the constitutions of their state and country while protecting the residents of Somerset and Pulaski County.
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck administered the oath, telling the crowd assembled that the community is in good hands with Chief Bengie Howard and his team of dedicated firefighters.
“Public safety must be the number one priority in any community, and it most certainly is in ours,” Keck said. “These men come to work each day willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the people of Somerset and Pulaski County and their property. I don’t take that sacrifice lightly. I support them wholeheartedly and am grateful for their service to our city.”
In March, Somerset City Council unanimously voted to hire Howard as the department’s next chief. A lifelong Pulaski Countian and third-generation firefighter, Howard served as the department’s captain and training director for nine years before accepting the role.
As he welcomed the crowd, Howard thanked the families of his firefighters for their support — specifically spouses and significant others who share in their firefighters’ sacrifice to serve.
“To serve as a firefighter means spending significant time away from your family, putting your life on the line to protect others not knowing whether you’ll be able to return home to them,” Howard said. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support of our families and the sacrifices they make so we can protect our community, and I am grateful for that.”
Firefighters sworn in Sunday included Cody King, Jeremy Nelson, Daniel Clark, Joshua Inman, Phillip Rogers, Brett England, Rob Garland, Hunter Frye and Zeke Reynolds.
After the group took the oath, Lieutenant Jayce Shepperd closed with the Fireman’s Prayer, which delivers a message similar to Howard’s.
“I want to fill my calling, and give the best in me, to guard my every neighbor and protect their property. And if according to your will I have to lose my life, please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife.”
Top left, Somerset Fire Department Chief Bengie Howard takes the oath administered by Mayor Alan Keck as his wife, Shelby, holds a Bible that once belonged to Howard’s grandfather. Howard is a third-generation Pulaski County firefighter and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Top middle, Howard and Mayor Keck. Top right, Lieutenant Jayce Shepperd reads the Fireman’s Prayer to conclude the ceremony.