NEW YORK - The FDNY marked a historic day on Tuesday, as Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh and Chief of Department John Hodgens, shook the hands of 303 members of the latest class to graduate from the FDNY Training Academy.
This year's graduating class is one of the most diverse classes in FDNY history.
"You're seeing members from every diverse neighborhood in New York City and I think that that is a phenomenal thing to see and it means that we have a footprint in every community, and that we have a connection to every community," said Commissioner Kavanagh.
"From Day One, it's all about being together as a team from the very moment you walk through those gates," said Valedictorian Thomas York.
Of the class, the FDNY says people of color comprise 46% of the class. Of that number, 27% identify as Hispanic, 15% as Black, and 4% as Asian American. Sixty-seven are military veterans.
"303 new firefighters really is a great thing for the field, it's invigorating to get new people into your firehouse. It makes everyone focus a little more. They want to train them and help them become full-fledged firefighters," said FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens.
The group also includes 11 women who posed as a group for family and friends. Three of the probies are legacies, children of FDNY and NYPD members who lost their lives in the line of duty on 9/11 or from 9/11 illnesses.
These probationary firefighters now begin 12 more months of additional training before they can officially call themselves "The Bravest."