T oday, we’re throwing it back to October 2001 when FDNY EMS Deputy Chief Horace Williams and Captain Tawana Williams, then Paramedics, went on their first date. They attended R&B singer Mary J. Blige’s concert ready to get their two-step on not knowing that the name of Mary’s hit single “Real Love” would end up being one of the best ways to describe their special story.
“Before we started dating, I was really busy studying for my Paramedic Exam and he helped me study the material and even helped me do my laundry one time and I just remember saying to myself ‘yeah, he’s a keeper,’ because that was so supportive,” the Captain said while the Chief smiled.
A little more than 18 years later, the Chief and Captain have dedicated 27 years each to serving in EMS, they have been married for almost 15 years and have four children. On Jan. 23, the two first responders also made history in our Department when they were promoted together. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, known to many as the most romantic day of the year, we caught up with #TeamWilliams to learn more about their recipe for success in love, marriage, family, careers and all that good stuff.
JoinFDNY: How is it working in the same career?
Chief Williams: I always enjoy knowing that I help those who are in need for a living and I think that keeps me focused on learning more and going further in this career. We make life-saving decisions and this is serious business and when you have someone like her who understands your work, because she’s doing the same thing, it’s really a great connection.
Captain Williams: This career offers the opportunity to work in so many different sectors in the Department and that’s one thing I love about it and I think we’re always supporting each other when it comes to learning all that we can with this job. The support is what’s important.
JoinFDNY: Balancing work and family life can be challenging. Tell us how you two make it work?
Chief Williams: Our schedules help greatly with keeping family time a priority. There are times when she’s working and I can go pick up our kids, keep them on schedule with their homework, cook dinner and get them ready for school the next day and it’s vice versa when she’s off and I’m working. It’s a great balance.
Captain Williams: Family time is very important to us and we really try to show the kids the love and respect that we have for this Department. We blend those two things together and I think we do a great job of teaching them about where we work, so when we’re not at home, they understand that we’re out here doing important work in the city by helping people. We’re also always attending FDNY picnics, toy drives and parades with the kids and they see that we’re a family here in the Department and we support one another.
JoinFDNY: What’s the key to longevity in your marriage?
Captain Williams: It’s never on one person to keep the marriage growing, we both have to do it. Once a year, around our anniversary, we take turns planning a trip just for us. One year I plan it and the next year he plans it and we just keep that going. I think it’s important to have that alone time and have a great time with each other and really remember who your best friend is.
Chief Williams: It’s also about being spontaneous. That’s really important. We just go out to breakfast or lunch sometimes just to spend quality time together. I like to cook a lot and sometimes I will say let’s have a barbecue and watch TV and we will do that and just eat and talk. It doesn’t always have to be elaborate, just thoughtful, loving and fun.