M eet Probationary Emergency Medical Technician John “Jack” Cloonan, he is one of our extraordinary EMTs who endured the fight for his life before joining the FDNY in 2019.
“You don’t know how strong you can be until you have to be it,” he said.
As an infant, Jack was diagnosed with a rare liver disease and he underwent three liver transplants all before the age of two. After growing up and being considerably healthy, Jack found himself at the start of a whole new challenge just after his high school graduation.
“I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia right after high school and I underwent chemotherapy for twenty-five months,” he explained.
Being in and out of a hospital setting, the idea of becoming an Emergency Medical Technician was mentioned to him in passing. This sparked his interest and he later enrolled in an EMT course and eventually joined the largest, most highly-trained Emergency Medical Service in the world. He graduated from the Academy in June 2019.
“Making it through the EMS Academy was a great accomplishment and everybody was going through it all together. It’s such a great feeling at graduation, knowing that we stuck together through the challenges,” he said.
John is now enjoying his career as an EMT, where he is assigned to the Queens Tactical Response Group (QTRG). This station is equipped as an additional resource responding to citywide 911 emergencies within the EMS system.
“This career is rewarding and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Cancer can take twenty-five months of my life, it can break me down physically, but cancer will never take my fighting spirit. I just kept thinking about all the things I wanted to do once I was healthy.”
Join FDNY is honored to highlight EMT Cloonan for his bravery in and out of uniform. We encourage everyone to keep your fighting spirit and live their dream to join the FDNY. Find out more about the different career paths that our Department has to offer by visiting www.joinfdny.com/careers.
EMT Cloonan also encourages New Yorkers to become an organ donor by visiting donatelife.ny.gov.
“I’ve always wanted to give back and help other people because throughout my life, I’ve had so many people help me and I feel a responsibility to help so many others.”