City of Cortland fire chief Wayne Friedman asked Michael TenKate on his special day if he wanted to give a few words.
“A few words,” TenKate jokingly replied.
TenKate, who’s served in the city fire department for almost 20 years, was officially sworn as the new deputy fire chief in a ceremony Wednesday morning at the city fire station on Court Street.
TenKate is the fifth-career deputy fire chief in the city department’s operations. He previously held the position of director of code enforcement with the department for about eight years.
“The day is a transition not only for our department, but for a captain in this family,” Friedman said.
Mayor Brian Tobin conducted the swear-in portion of the ceremony, adding he was “honored” to do so for TenKate.
“You don’t put yourself in this position without working hard and the people around you working hard with you,” Tobin said.
Tobin also mentioned the department will “have the same confidence in you as you’ve had in others.”
“The department will continue to function very well, which is of great ease and comfort not just for the department but for our whole community,” he said.
Following the swear-in, TenKate’s family presented him with his deputy chief badge.
“I want to thank my family for their support during my career,” he said, who also thanked “the role models of the fire department,” including Friedman and former deputy chief Dwayne Pierce.
Friedman detailed the three C’s when swearing in firefighters: courage, compassion and commitment.
“Those words echo with the role you’re taking on,” he said to TenKate.
Friedman added, “You’ll fill in a key role for this department. The foundation is set and the bar is high. It will not be easy, but your education, experience and training have brought you to this day.”
TenKate’s career with the city of Cortland fire department started in 2001. He joined the Village of Freeville fire department when he was 18.
TenKate was the chief of the Virgil fire department from 2009 to 2013, and still an active volunteer there.