Today, we join the nation in celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As we pause to remember his activism, teachings and commitment to equality, meet three of our members who are helping to keep his dream alive through service.
Emergency Medical Dispatch Lieutenant Dionne McKoy
“Ever since I was little girl growing up in Jamaica, in the Bronx and Brooklyn, I have had a passion for helping others. I’ve always considered myself a giver and that’s one reason why I joined EMS because it’s a career where we are able to the help community,” said McKoy, a 27-year FDNY veteran, who serves in our Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD).
The Lieutenant also leads the Jamaica 2D World Foundation, which provides humanitarian aid throughout the 14 parishes in Jamaica and other countries in need. Most recently, McKoy and other volunteers spent a month in the Bahamas providing food, clothes and medical assistance to those impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
“Dr. King always encouraged us to ask ourselves, ‘What are we doing to help others?’ I think it’s important that each of us take the time to do what we can to give back. It might be a small effort, but it will have a big impact in someone’s life. We are never too busy to step up and help one another,” she added.
Mentor Firefighter Jason Woodson Jr. and his Mentee Probationary Firefighter William H. Payne III
“One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is when he said, ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,’ because it relates to my career where I’m responsible for the safety of other people,” said Woodson Jr., a seven-year FDNY veteran, who works at Ladder 59 in the Bronx. “This is the dream job and I love it. I love that we get to help people from all walks of life every day and I love that every day on this job is different.”
Woodson Jr., a Harlem native, is also a Mentor in the Firefighter Candidate Mentorship Program (FFCMP). The initiative allows Firefighter Candidates and Probationary Firefighters to receive ongoing career guidance from our Fire Officers and Firefighters.
“Once you get on this job, it’s important to give back and help others join the Department and that’s why I became a Mentor,” he explained. “As a Mentor, I’ve been able to help my Mentees prepare for the Fire Academy and really just be there for them when they have questions about this job.”
Payne III, who works at Ladder 24 in Manhattan, graduated in our most recent Proby Class in August 2022.
“My journey to get this job was not an easy one, but having a Mentor through this process was extremely helpful. I needed more training with ropes and one Saturday morning, Jason and I met up in the park and we went over different knots for about an hour and I really appreciated that kind of support,” said Payne, also a Harlem native. “Having a Mentor showed me also that serving as a New York City Firefighter continues Dr. King’s legacy in more ways than one. We are here to help the city and we use our training every day to help the public and we also have a responsibility to help one another learn more about this important career.”
Learn more about the rewarding careers here in the New York City Fire Department today by clicking here.