The proby's (probational EMTs, as they're initially called, spent 18 weeks learning life-saving skills in every life-threatening scenario possible. Each decided to become public servants for personal reasons.
For Andrew Sheppard, it was to honor his grandfather FDNY Battalion Chief Dennis Cross. Chief Cross was killed on September 11. Cross himself joined the FDNY in 1963 because his father was a NY firefighter. Sheppard also has an uncle in the department.
"Helping people has always been something that made me happy and everything and then following in my grandfather's footsteps and my uncle's footsteps in joining the fire department has just been a life goal of mine," Sheppard said.
For Victoria Ortiz, it was in memory of her grandmother, Mafalda Iacovino, who passed away from Covid at age 81. Ortiz is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and said, "I was raised by an old school grandmother and she raised me with discipline and I hope that shows through the rest of my patience."
The FDNY responds to more than 1.6 million emergencies each year and the new EMTs like Tat Lin, an armed services veteran, are ready to do their part.