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Dylan Nygren, 29, has dreamed about becoming a firefighter since he watched an episode of "Sesame Street" in which firefighters saved one of the Muppets from a fire.

Family members still have pictures of Nygren as a kid wearing a firefighter costume for Halloween.

"I just want to be that person that people can run to and know that it's gonna be OK," Nygren said Friday after receiving his badge as one of Minneapolis' newest firefighters. His first day on the job will be Sunday at the fire station in West Bank.

He was one of 23 recruits welcomed to the department during Friday's ceremony at the city's firefighter training facility.

The latest class brings the total number of Minneapolis Fire Department sworn personnel to 412.

The Minneapolis Fire Department Cadet Training Academy program includes nearly six months of intense physical activity and knowledge tests.

"After going through months of training — and it's like a tunnel that keeps getting longer, you know — you finally get to that day," Deputy Chief of Training Joseph Mattison said during Friday's ceremony. "I am happy for them."

Nygren and the other new firefighters are graduating at a time when city leaders are working to create a new Office of Community Safety that aims to better coordinate fire, police, and other safety services. That work is being led by a new commissioner, Cedric Alexander, who began work on Monday.

"We are so honored to have you as part of this incredible department," Mayor Jacob Frey told the cadets. "We value your work. We value your leadership. And most importantly we value you as members of this exceptional team in the city of Minneapolis."

Also getting their badge Friday was Larry Sanchez. It was seeing rescue crews pull up to the scene during a family emergency when he was 8 years old that made him want to become a firefighter. A feeling of helplessness was replaced with one of hope, he noted.

"That feeling that I felt at 8 years old is the feeling I want to give to others," Sanchez said. Now 22, his first day as a firefighter starts next week in north Minneapolis.