The El Centro Fire Department celebrated the promotion of two of its own Tuesday morning along with family, friends and members of the City Council.
Oscar Jauregui was promoted from engineer to captain and Jason Bandaruk was promoted from firefighter to engineer during a badge-pinning ceremony held at El Centro Fire Station 3.
“The promotion process is a competitive process,” El Centro Battalion Chief Kenneth Herbert said. “It helps everybody, and the guys that come out at the top of the list and receive promotions have shown their dedication, hard work and self improvement.”
Nine personnel competed for the position of engineer while six competed for the position of captain.
Both men promoted Tuesday have already been performing their titles’ duties in an acting capacity.
“They’ve both demonstrated the ability to do the job,” Herbert said. “A ceremony like this is a chance for us to recognize all their hard work and also a chance to celebrate with them.”
Multiple firefighters retired from the department attended the pinning.
“It says something about the brotherhood within the fire service and about their mutual respect,” Herbert added.
Brawley native Jauregui has been a firefighter for 26 years and said Tuesday was a “long-time coming.”
“I feel honored that this administration feels confident in my ability to lead an engine company,” he said before being pinned by his wife and daughter.
Bandaruk has been with the department six years, and proudly smiled as his wife, Ashley, pinned him Tuesday with his mother and 2-year-old son in the audience.
“I think it’s awesome. It’s a great opportunity for me especially considering the direction the department is heading. I’m really looking forward to the near future,” he said.
“It’s a really good feeling and well-deserved promotion for him,” his wife said. “It’s a big day for him and we’re glad we could be here.”
Police Chief Jim McGinley, City Manager Ruben Duran and Mayor Ben Solomon, along with other council members, all congratulated the firefighters at the ceremony.
“I know that feeling safe and secure in your home and in your community is a major concern for citizens of El Centro,” Solomon said.
“I have full faith and confidence in the personnel of the Fire Department.”
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 650-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org