February 12, 2020
On Wednesday, February 12, FDNY held a graduation and promotion ceremony for EMS members at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. At the event, 154 Probationary Emergency Medical Technicians graduated from the FDNY EMS Academy, joined by 14 Captains who were promoted.
First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh presided over the ceremony and spoke of the critical role FDNY EMS members play in the Department’s life-saving mission.
“2019 was the busiest year for medical calls in FDNY history,” said Commissioner Kavanagh. “Our EMTs, Paramedics, and Officers are an essential part of our response at so many of the incidents we face as a Department. Together, you will continue to demonstrate that FDNY is not only the busiest Emergency Medical Service in the world, but also the best.”
Among the graduates was EMT Kevin Rehrer who was inspired to pursue a career in emergency medicine after being saved by an EMT from drowning at the age of 5.
“I drowned, went into cardiac arrest, and woke up in the back of an ambulance,” said EMT Rehrer. “I would look back on this moment when I was deciding on a career and it is important to me that I have the opportunity to give back to people the way those EMTs have done for me.”
Chief of EMS Lillian Bonsignore praised the promotees and graduates for their dedication and commitment.
“I love our graduations and promotions because I see so many men and women coming together to celebrate people who are dedicating their lives to this incredible profession,” said Chief Bonsignore. “Your training will be tested early and often, and I know you will succeed in making a difference in the lives of your patients, and their families.”
Newly promoted Captain Mario Thompkins saw firsthand the lasting impact this job has on the lives of others.
“I’ve been honored to attend two FDNY Second Chance Ceremonies, where I was reunited with former patients who had survived cardiac arrest because of the emergency medical care provided by me and my coworkers,” said Captain Thompkins. “It was an incredibly humbling experience to know that they were there because of our hard work. These experiences encouraged me to move up in the ranks and I hope to motivate others in this new role.”
Six of the graduates served in the United States Armed Forces, including EMT Anika Guy.
“I am currently a U.S. Navy Reservist, and I want to give back to a city that has given me so much,” said EMT Anika Guy. “The Navy helped me get through the FDNY EMS Academy. The structure was familiar and I was able to gain some better habits that will allow me to be successful in the Department.”
For photos of the event, click here.