HUNTINGTON - Friends, family and current and former members of the Huntington Fire Department gathered in the City Council chambers as four firefighters in the city of Huntington were promoted in rank during a ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Christopher Blanton and Scott Leep were promoted from the rank of lieutenant to captain, while Jason Eastham and Jimmy Vogt were promoted from private to the rank of lieutenant.

The four individuals have a combined 59 years of experience - including over two decades of service from now-Capt. Leep, who celebrated his 21st year with the department in January.

Leep and Lt. Eastham were unable to attend Thursday's ceremony for personal reasons, but Vogt and Blanton were congratulated by Fire Chief Jan Rader and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who read letters of recognition to the pair, highlighting their accomplishments with the HFD and wishing them well as they move forward in their careers and represent the city and the "high standards" set by the department.

Vogt, who joined the department in August 2007, serves in the Air National Guard as a flight medic in addition to his responsibilities with the Huntington Fire Department.

"Not only does he serve our city as a first responder, but he also serves our country," Rader said. "I couldn't be more proud of what he has accomplished in his time with us."

Rader said she has seen leadership potential from Blanton since he was hired nearly 11 years ago and was "glad to see it come to fruition" leading up to the promotion in rank.

As the ceremony concluded, she wished the four individuals good luck moving forward, saying she was "looking forward to watching each of them soar."

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