The Fort Worth Fire Department employs the most diverse staff in its 129 year history

Fort Worth (CBSDFW.COM) With courage, strength, and a commitment to their community, 24 recruits from the Fort Worth Fire Department walked out to a crowd of proud family and friends and left as new firefighters.

They made history as the most diverse class of firefighter in the Fort Worth Fire Department’s 129-year history; 71% of class are minorities. Five of them are war veterans and five women also graduated. All five women are mothers.

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

Wharton sacrificed a lot to achieve this goal. Her daughter lived in Memphis while she completed her training in Fort Worth.

“Honestly, it means everything to me,” said Wharton. “I think it just shows her that we can do anything we put our minds to.”

As Fort Worth has become more diverse, President Jim Davis has focused on making sure the department reflects the diversity of the community they serve. Since 2018, there has been a 66% increase in hiring African American firefighters, a 291% increase in female firefighters, and a 46% increase in Hispanic firefighters.

“It’s like a superpower that’s able to connect with the people who call us. They’re calling us on the worst day of their lives and the communication barrier can feel like an added crisis,” said Rafael Diamond, chief coaching officer.

“Being a bilingual Latina, I can communicate and understand them so we can better serve them,” said Eduardo Vaca Amaya, a new firefighter.

A former teacher from Austin, he says he became a firefighter to serve as a role model for his students and community.

“I wanted to give them this hope that wherever you come from, you can have the discipline and dedication you need to succeed,” Vaca Amaya said.

The Fort Worth Fire Department Training Academy lasts 36 weeks, and this graduating class, Class of 92, will be the last class to graduate this year. For more information about the Fort Worth Fire Department, you can visit their website.

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