Jermaine Graham has been a member of the US Coast Guard and the Brookline Fire Department, and Tuesday he joined the team he always wanted to belong to: the Boston Fire Department.
Following a ceremony at Florian Hall in Dorchester where he and 50 other members of his class took the oath of office, the 34-year old Roxbury resident said he has long believed that his duty in life is to help others, even if it means risking his own life.
“I really believe I was put on this Earth to do that,’’ he said while holding his toddler daughter, Daye, in his arms. “It’s something I was born with and something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ll put my life on the line for other individuals, no matter what.’’
Graham’s new career was welcomed by Donna Williams, who considers Graham to be her son. “He has a very caring heart and [is] a person who pushes to help people and give of himself,’’ Williams said.
Graham’s wife, Dominque, said her husband is courageous.
“He loves running in [to danger] when people are running out,” she said. “He loves being a hero and helping people in their weakest moments. I’m very proud of him.”
In the latest of a string of firsts for the city’s new chief executive, Mayor Martin J. Walsh attended the graduation ceremony, which, he said, marked his first swearing-in ceremony for the rank and file at a public safety department. The class presented him with a plaque to mark the occasion.
In brief remarks, Walsh expressed his thanks to the new firefighters and vowed to stand with them in the years to come.
“There are times you are going to pick up the newspaper and you are gong to get frustrated when you see some of the things that are written about the Fire Department and public employees,’’ Walsh said. “I am a mayor who is always going to stand with public employees.’’
Tuesday’s class also marked an apparent first for the department, which dates itself to 1678: One of the new recruits joins his wife in the department, while another joins her husband on the job. All 51 members of the graduating class, which included one woman, are military veterans.
The new firefighters spent 20 weeks training at the department’s academy on Moon Island. Fire officials said that training included instruction on traditional techniques, as well as on how to respond to weapons of mass destruction and acts of terrorism, such as last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon.John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@ globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.