On this feel good Friday, we want you to meet Ladder 107 Firefighters Khalid Lewis and Khalid Lee.
One is from Brooklyn. One is from Queens. But both became inspired at a young age to serve the community as a New York City Firefighter, which makes their story even more special.
While walking to and from elementary school in East New York as a kid, Lewis would often pause to watch members of Engine 205/Ladder 118 work in the streets.
“My school was right across the street from the firehouse and just seeing them all the time working when I went by there was just a pleasant part of my day,” he recalled. “As I grew up and I started speaking to more members on the job and doing more research about it, I knew in my heart it would be a great career choice for me. I’m serving in the community that I grew up in and when I’m out in the neighborhood, it’s a warm embrace from the community all the time because people who know me get to see how I chose to work here and help keep them safe.”
For Lee, the story is very similar. As a kid, he watched members of Engine 303/Ladder 126 respond to emergencies in the streets of Jamaica.
“I used to watch the ‘Princeton Street Tigers’ with my grandma because she would pick me up from daycare and we would count how many times the fire truck rolled in and out of the firehouse. It’s exciting as a kid to see that and I just became fascinated with being a Firefighter,” he explained. “I moved to East New York later on and saw the members of Engine 290/Ladder 103 helping people all the time and I just always knew I would take the test and become a Firefighter. Now I’m here working in East New York and it’s a great feeling. I live and work in this community, so anytime I see kids coming by our firehouse, I try to talk to them and just show them that they can work here too. It’s not impossible, it just takes hard work and this can become their reality.”
And on July 25, with their Lieutenant George Mueller and other members of Ladder 107, the two Khalids helped to rescue four individuals from the eighth floor of an all-hands apartment building fire in Brooklyn. The effort reminded them both of why they chose such a brave career: to help others.
“We train for emergencies and when the call comes for our help, we answer it and that’s what we did that day,” Lee said.
“Our priority is helping people and we do that every day as a team and that’s what I love about this job,” Lewis added.