It was a day of firsts for the Syracuse Fire Department with the first female captain and the second African American district chief promoted to their new posts. Many hope it shows others you can be anything you want to be with a little hard work.
Applause erupted at City Hall on Tuesday morning among some of Syracuse's bravest as Sara Errington was promoted, making her the first female captain in the fire department's history. "It also helps show young women that there are a lot of careers that they can have that they traditionally didn't think about women having and being a firefighter is one of those options now," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
While Errington shied away from the cameras, the mayor hopes the promotion sends a loud message to others. "It's an object lesson to people both girls and boys that if you work hard that you can achieve your dreams even if no one who looks like you has been there before," Miner said.
There are still obstacles and challenges, what many saw at the promotion ceremony is that your gender or race should not be a barrier. It is a message heard loud and clear by Elton Davis who was named fire district chief, becoming the second African American named to a district chief position in the department's history.
What drew Davis to the job more than a decade ago was the chance to help others. "Just to have an opportunity to be there in their time of need. That's been the most rewarding," Davis said. "When you see someone that's in need and you're able to come and render some assistance, that fills your heart."
Men and women were climbing the ladder in more ways than one, joining the ranks of Syracuse's finest and sending a message that hard work pays off. "We have talented women, we have talented men, we have talented African Americans. We have a very diverse workforce and a diverse fire department and that we reward excellence in no matter what package it comes in," Miner said.
In addition to Errington and Davis, four others were promoted on Tuesday. Todd Milton was named Acting Deputy Chief of Fire. Paul Cousins was promoted to Fire District Chief, Duriel Carney was named Captain and Adam Smith was named Lieutenant.