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Following 18 weeks of intense training on everything from fire suppression to building inspections, 288 FDNY probationary firefighters graduated from the fire academy on Friday.
Nearly half are persons of color, and seven are women, bringing the number of female firefighters to 145, the most in FDNY history.
“You have proven that you are the best of the best and because of your fortitude and hard work you can now call yourself a member of the FDNY,” Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said during the morning ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn “I hope someday you will look back on this moment and realize it was the beginning of not just a great and rewarding career but the beginning of a journey that is as challenging as it is fun.”
This graduation was the first presided over by Kavanagh following her permanent appointment to the post by Mayor Eric Adams in October.
Also among the graduates was Brendan Woods, whose father, Lieut. Thomas G. Woods, earned the FDNY highest accolade, the James Gordon Bennett Medal, for bravery 10 years ago after rescuing more than 25 of his neighbors during Hurricane Sandy, with his family, including Brendan, then just a child, alongside him.
The younger Woods has already made an impression, on Friday addressing his fellow graduates as class valedictorian.
“We have earned this opportunity to serve our communities and represent the FDNY,” he told them. “Ensure you remain deserving of this opportunity, continue to study, continue to train, maintain your bearings. A long, rewarding career awaits you.”
Woods and his probationary firefighter colleagues will be assigned to firehouses throughout the city.
— Duncan Freeman
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