FDNY Veteran Tonya Boyd Becomes the First Black Female Deputy Chief

An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Captain, Tonya Boyd, is making history after becoming the first black woman in the FDNY to hold the title of deputy chief.

According to the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn native– who joined the FDNY 21 years ago while in college as a way to make money –will be awarded on Thursday (November 2). Astonished by the historic promotion, Boyd believes her career will inspire women who look like her and know anything is possible.

“I’m so excited and I am so blessed,” Boyd said to the NYDN. “After hearing about the promotion, I couldn’t believe it. I feel like I’ve knocked down a door and opened it for a lot of EMTs just starting on this job,”

“African-American women will see someone who looks like them as a deputy chief and they will know more is possible — their careers won’t top out at paramedic or even lieutenant,”

Using the job as a source of income while pursuing a degree in nursing at Brooklyn College, Boyd became an official employee of the FDNY as a paramedic before climbing up the ladder as lieutenant, to captain and now deputy chief. It is noted that with roughly 4,000 employees, Emergency Medical Services is more diverse in gender and race than the city’s firefighting ranks –with 35% of the workers in the field are women.

As the NYDN reports, Boyd’s momentous promotion will mark the first in 150 years that the FDNY will have an African-American woman as deputy chief. Regina Wilson, FDNY firefighter and head of the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization of African-American fire department employees, says Boyd will be the highest-ranking black woman in the entire department.

“It’s a proud moment for the department to have a woman of color reach such a rank and we hope there will be many more to follow,” she said.

Photo Credit: FDNY/New York Daily News

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