The Fort Worth Fire Department recruits the most diverse classes in its 129-year history

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) With courage, strength and commitment to their community, 24 Fort Worth Fire Department recruits walked out on crowds of proud family and friends and left as new firefighters

You just made history as the most diverse class of firefighters in the 129-year history of the Fort Worth Fire Department. 71% of the class are minorities. Five are military veterans and five women have also graduated. All five women are mothers.

“It was tough, it was tough, but it was worth it,” said Tamesha Wharton, one of the department’s newest firefighters.

Wharton sacrificed much to achieve that goal. Her daughter resided in Memphis while she completed her education in Fort Worth.

“To be honest, it means everything to me,” Wharton said. “I think it just goes to show that we can do anything we put our minds to.”

As Fort Worth becomes more diverse, Chief Jim Davis has focused on ensuring the department reflects the diversity of the community it serves. Since 2018, recruitment has increased 66% for African American firefighters, 291% for female firefighters, and 46% for Hispanic firefighters.

“It’s like a superpower to communicate with the people who call us. They call us on the worst day of their lives, and a communication barrier can seem like an added crisis,” said Chief Training Officer Rafael Diamond.

“As a bilingual Latino, I can communicate with them and understand them so we can provide them with a better service,” said Eduardo Vaca-Amaya, a new firefighter.

A former Austin teacher, he says he became a firefighter to be a role model for his students and the community.

“I wanted to give them that hope that wherever they come from, they can have the discipline and dedication they want to be successful,” Vaca-Amaya said.

The Fort Worth Fire Department’s training academy lasts 36 weeks, and this graduating class, Class 92, will be the last class to graduate this year. For more information about the Fort Worth Fire Department, visit their website.

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