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‘I just wanted to be a part of the best’: Detroit firefighter breaks barriers

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DETROOIT – Jackie Lam joined the Detroit Fire Department a few years in the past as a result of of the division’s fame of being the greatest of the greatest. And with out even realizing it, Lam ended up doing a lot greater than just combating fires as she as a substitute paved the method for future generations to observe in her footsteps.

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It’s one factor to be a feminine firefighter. There are usually not many of them, however what about a feminine Asian American firefighter? That’s one thing the DFD hadn’t seen in its 162-year historical past till Jackie Lam got here alongside.

Lam has been with the Detroit Fire Department for 2 and a half years, transferring from California to begin her profession.

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“So the Detroit Fire Department has a reputation of being one of the best fire departments in the whole world,” mentioned Lam. “So I wanted to be a part of it. Most other departments don’t get to fight as aggressively as the Detroit Fire Department, and I just wanted to be part of the best.”

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But to be a part of the greatest, you’ve received to be the greatest and be in a position to sustain. Although most firefighters are male, Lang knew she may move all the assessments to earn her badge.

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“I didn’t know it was an option for the longest time,” Lam mentioned. “I assumed it was just the guy’s job. But I think it’s one of those things where it’s like you told me I can’t do something. I’m going to try my best to do it. So I tried my best, and I got it.”

“There’s always been a competition,” mentioned Detroit Fire Department Lt. Richard Halsell. “But she bought the next level competition because she was doing things that guys who’s six foot you know, 200 pounds are doing she’s doing it so it’s like oh, ‘she can do it, I can do it.’”

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It wasn’t till she was on the job sooner or later that a co-worker identified that Lam was the first feminine Asian American firefighter the DFD had ever seen.

“He was like, ‘you do realize that, right,’” Lam mentioned. “I was like, ‘no, I didn’t know.’”

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Lam says she loves representing her Asian heritage inside the division and hopes younger ladies and Asian ladies search for to her and know that they’ll do that job.

“I mean, Metro Detroit has a large Asian population, and I want those females to know that they can, you know, do this job too,” Lam mentioned. “And I have a daughter myself, and I want her to know that if she works hard and prepares for the job like she could do anything she wants to.”

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Lt. Halsell says he already sees that Lam is that function mannequin for younger ladies. He has two daughters who’re all the time speaking about what she is up to. So Lam is already altering the notion of what a Detroit firefighter appears to be like like.

Copyright 2022 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.



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