“You can do it too,” advises Tracy Lewis, one of only a handful of female firefighters in the FDNY. Lewis is set apart from her peers in a field that is male-dominated and primarily one race. Lewis is an African-American female firefighter–something that even some adults question. “They’ll come up to me and say, ‘I didn’t even know that women could be firefighters.’”
Despite what people say, Lewis has been living this life for 12 years and seems to love it. She calls it “exciting” and enjoys the thrill.
Last week when Hurricane Sandy rolled in, Lewis was off-duty but came in for the aftermath, inspecting and repairing parts of Far Rockaway and Breezy Point, not too far from where she grew up and still resides in Brooklyn. As a child, she was always fasciated by the different trucks and actually started out as an EMS worker–a field that she studied while in high school through an EMS program at her school. She was considering taking the police cadet test, but at the time with budget cuts, she reconsidered with the help from a friend who is now retired. He coached and prepared her.
Twelve years later, Lewis continues to be a woman that younger girls can look up to and admire.