TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo Fire and Rescue Department prides itself on growing diversity over the last several years. The class of 2020 marks a new high for that initiative: 4 black females, and 6 women in all, out of 47 total members.
"Elated is an understatement," says battalion chief Daniel Brown-Martinez. "We're very proud to see a lot of the barriers they've crossed and the achievements they've accomplished."
Private Nadia Coleman was a paramedic in Michigan before joining the department, but she "didn't really feel fulfilled. I felt like I could do more for my community."
Lt. Lolita Cooper, another black female serving with TFRD, talked to Nadia's class at school, and inspired her to join the ranks.
"It really piqued my interest," recalls Coleman, "and I just felt like doing this job would help me better myself and help me serve my community."
Another protege of Lt. Cooper -- Lt. Komako Goolsby -- is glad to see this initiative coming full circle. "I'm excited to see the diversity. I'm excited to see these young ladies, especially the minorities, who will do very well in this department."
Past and present TFRD graduates all hope to keep the trend going with future generations.
"Young black females see me when I go on runs," says Coleman, "and it makes me proud because it tells them 'You can do this job, too.' It doesn't matter where you come from. If you're hungry for change, you can make a change -- and this job changes lives."