Legacy graduates, veterans, women among diverse FDNY firefighter class
Officials say the 2023 class of probationary firefighters reflects increasing diversity in the department
By Leonard Greene
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Joseph Maloney just spent 19 weeks in training to become a New York City firefighter at the department’s Randalls Island academy.
There, he carried heavy fire hoses, fought simulated fires and ended the training with a 5-mile run. Still, Maloney had only the second-hardest job in his family this summer.
His wife just had a baby.
Maloney is one of 303 firefighters graduating Tuesday from the FDNY’s latest class of trainees during a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.
He is also one of three legacy graduates, children of FDNY and NYPD members who lost their lives in the line of duty on 9/11 or from World Trade Center-related illnesses.
“I was in the fifth grade. I was 11 years old at the time,” Maloney said, remembering the dark morning when his father, Joseph Maloney, was killed during the 9/11 terrorist attack.
“It was tough on my family, my mom, my sister, all his siblings,” he added.
“Members of the FDNY family really did help. My dad’s best friends always made sure they were there. That first year, we’d go to functions and we were always taken care of. That’s the most exciting part, getting back into the family.”
A new generation of firefighters came through for Maloney after his wife Meredith gave birth to their son, Joseph, who was also named after his father.
Maloney said he hasn’t gotten much sleep, and the other probies, despite their competitive nature, helped him with his studies.
“They really did help me when I was only getting one or two hours of sleep,” Maloney said. “They really showed me how much they were my family before any of us graduated.”
Officials said this year’s group of graduates represents the department’s increasing diversity, with people of color comprising 46% of the class. About 27% identify as Hispanic, 15% as Black and 4% as Asian-American.
The class includes 11 women, as well as 67 veterans from various branches of the military.
“Becoming a New York City firefighter takes hard work and dedication, and these men and women have shown they have what it takes to join the ranks of New York’s Bravest,” said Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “These new firefighters have trained with the best, and are ready to respond 24/7, 365 days a year to any emergency.”
Christopher Murden, 31, is a Marine veteran, and said he was drawn to the FDNY because of its similar structure.
“There’s a lot of bonding here to help us get through the days,” Murden said. “I’ve made plenty of lifelong friends here.”
Even though his family is a little worried about the dangers of the job, his two young daughters have been his biggest backers.
“I’m anxious to go to their schools for career day,” Murden said. “My daughters lose their little minds every time a fire truck speeds by.”
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