Mayor Martin J. Walsh congratulated the latest class of Boston Emergency Medical Services recruits at their graduation ceremony Tuesday morning, calling them “real life super heroes.”
Walsh joined Boston EMS Chief James Hooley, Boston Public Health Commission interim executive director Rita Nieves and other officials in the Great Hall at Faneuil Hall to celebrate the graduation of the 24 newly-minted Boston EMS emergency medical technicians.
Walsh noted that women made up half the class. (Women made up 53 percent of the class that graduated in January 2019, according to Boston EMS officials.)
Officials said members of this graduating class, who were state-certified EMTs prior to hire, completed an additional 27 weeks of classroom and field training, which included responding to nearly 5,000 911 calls and treating more than 3,800 patients.
Walsh congratulated them for successfully completing their training in the academy and said they would be role models in the community.
“As you all know, being an EMT is more than a job, and more than a paycheck," said Walsh. “It’s a noble way to serve your community. Our EMTs have one of the most important jobs in our city.”
Walsh also shared a personal story of his own, and told the audience that on Saturday morning he had to call an ambulance for his mother. He commended the Boston EMS responders for treating her with compassion and making her feel comfortable.
“I want to say how much the city of Boston appreciates you," said Walsh. "You are the real life super heroes. You are the ones that people turn to, especially when they need you the most.”
Walsh also noted that Tuesday marked the last day on the job for Boston EMS Superintendent-in-Chief Kevin Shea, who is retiring.
“Thank you for your 43 years of service,” said Walsh.
Michael MacNeil, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association EMS Division, also spoke at the graduation ceremony, and said the class represents the future of Boston EMS. At one point he told the recruits to look around at their fellow classmates.
“Look to your left and your right,” MacNeil said. “You may only see your fellow newly badged members, but what we see future deputy superintendents, future paramedics, future union reps. I know you may be thinking that, even though the academy is over, you still have a lot to learn. And that’s true. But this department also has a lot to learn from you.”
“Your generation is much better at expressing yourselves, and at talking through things. And that’s exactly what we need to encourage in order to mitigate the effects of bearing witness to tragedy. We will rely on your generation to help us continue to build a culture of peer support to keep our members physically and emotionally well. We have to look out for each other.”