We’re kicking-off our Women’s History Month recognition today by paying tribute to some of our trailblazers in EMS. Through their courage, dedication, training and hard work, these six women have all made history in our Department while helping to inspire people around the world to join the FDNY.
“Being promoted gave me the chance to show that there are opportunities within this Department for advancement and I hope to continue to motivate and inspire women throughout the EMS ranks,” said Deputy Chief Tonya Boyd, who made history in our Department in November 2017 when she became the first African American woman to serve in this rank. “My mission is to lead by example and to be a mentor for those who are looking to move their careers forward. Being a part of living history, it is gratifying and this is a gift from God. As a Deputy Chief, I have the opportunity to let others know that there is a chance for them to achieve their dreams as well.”
“The only limits you set are your own. It is so important for women who are strong to go after their goals and conquer their dreams,” said Deputy Chief Natalia Polunin, who made history in our Department in March 2019 when she became the first woman to ascend to the rank of Captain of our Haz-Tac Battalion. She was promoted to her current rank at our latest ceremony on Feb. 26. “All of the training we do here in the FDNY continually builds the confidence we need to work as a team to get our jobs done. No matter what field you may work in out here, even those that are dominated by males, have confidence in yourself and know that you can achieve your goals and make them a reality.”
“I love that curiosity as an EMT, Medic, or whichever career you choose here gets you somewhere. I realized quickly the amazing thing about this Department is that there are so many things that you can do. Training is what makes us great and I learned a lot being able to document through photography what we do, who we are and how we work as a service,” said Lieutenant Kyra Neeley King, who made history in our Department in November 2019 when she launched her Brave Colors photo exhibition at the New York City Fire Museum. “Through the photos, I’m able to show the world that when they see us, we are always ready. Working in EMS is great because we are constantly changing and adapting to whatever is sent our way.”
“Being a female FDNY Rescue Medic is symbolic to me because I stand out to many people and I want to represent that dreams can come true. As women, we shouldn’t be discouraged to serve in this career because with hard work and dedication, we are able to succeed at the training,” said Rescue Medic Chante Kelly, who made history in our Department in November 2017 as a member of our first Rescue Medic class comprised of mostly women. “Working as a Rescue Medic has put me in a position where I am able to do a lot more for people. Being in rescue challenges me in different environments where our patients are in truly distress situations and I love being able to help them in their time of need.”
“I’m excited to have competed internationally and it took a lot of dedication and training to achieve that goal. I encourage all women to keep working on their goals and stay focused on what they want to achieve. It takes a lot of hard work, but you can make them a reality,” said Paramedic Megan Pfeiffer, who made history in our Department in August 2019 when she competed for the USA National Dragon Boat Team in Thailand. “Working in EMS is great because we’re helping our patients each day and I love my career. Sometimes our patients come back to thank us for the work we do and that’s an amazing feeling too because we get to see that our training and patient care really helped them.”
“Having made history, I hope to encourage other women to continue to work to make their dreams come true and let them know they are not at a disadvantage. Working in EMS has really given me the drive to do what I love each day and that’s help people,” said EMT Althea Redican, who made history in our Department in November 2019 when she became the first woman to win honors at the FDNY Cook-Off at the New York City Fire Museum. “I grew up in an environment where there was always food around and I quickly learned how to make food just the way I like it. After competing for the very first time in the Cook-Off, I was glad that I was able to show off my skills and I was so happy that people enjoyed my ‘Staying Alive’ Shepherd’s Pie in the competition.”