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Woman Graduates From FDNY Academy 13 Years After Her Firefighter Father Died on 9/11

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After two entrance exams, 18 weeks of intensive training, and 13 years of waiting, 34-year-old Josephine Smith has become the first-ever daughter of a firefighter killed during 9/11 to assume active duty herself. 47-year-old Kevin Smith was killed along with many of his elite Hazmat Co. 1 Manhattan unit during the attacks, but Josephine says she felt her father’s presence yesterday at the ceremony where she became one of only 4 women to graduate from the Fire Academy’s class of 280: “I believe my dad was sitting in the front, front of everybody […] It feels amazing. I accomplished something so big that I wanted to accomplish.”

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After unsuccessfully taking the entrance test to the FDNY Academy in 2007, Josephine re-applied again in 2012 in the hopes of fulfilling her life-long dream. The Probationary Firefighter told reporters,

As long as I can remember, as far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a firefighter. I remember being like these little kids here, playing on the fire truck at my dad’s firehouse. And always telling my dad I was going to work with him one day. Always […] After 9/11, I wanted to make sure this was something I was going to fulfill […] It pushed me even more. I always had a drive to want to be a firefighter, but that — it made me work 10 times harder.

He’d be so proud. He’d be absolutely proud. He’d be worried. Being a firefighter himself, he knows what goes with the job, but he knows I’d be able to handle it — how strong I am, mentally and physically […] Training was tough — really tough […] I thought about him when I was tired and wanted to stop. I thought about what he’d say: ‘Keep going, keep going, keep pushing.’

(via ABC, A Mighty Girl on Facebook)

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