A Fire Dept. Chaplain Breaking Barriers

Good morning. It’s Thursday. Today we’ll meet the New York Fire Department’s newest chaplain. We’ll also get details on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to send State Police and National Guard soldiers into the New York City subway system.

Credit…Randy Li/FDNY

To visit a firehouse in Brooklyn recently, the Rev. Pamela Holmes wore a shirt with a Fire Department emblem — and her clerical collar.

“You want to wear something identifiable so that people will know you are who you say you are,” said Holmes, who will be sworn in today as the Fire Department’s second female chaplain. She will be the first Black woman in the role, in a department that long resisted efforts to diversify its ranks.

Holmes is one of seven chaplains — six of them Christian and one Jewish. Each is “on tour,” or on duty, one day a week. Holmes is also an associate pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn.

The chaplains provide counseling to firefighters and other Fire Department employees, and can assist when families are notified about a firefighter who died in the line of duty. They make hospital visits to injured or sick firefighters. They also do invocations or prayers at ceremonies like street-namings.

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