Chicago fire organization donates $30K to train young EMTs
Through the Black Fire Brigade’s donation, 30 young adults from the inner city will start EMT training with tuition, books and uniform covered
By EMS1 Staff
CHICAGO — An organization donated thousands of dollars so that young adults from the inner city can train to become EMTs.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Black Fire Brigade, an organization dedicated to mentoring young people in an effort to decrease violence, donated $30,000 to cover the tuition, book cost and uniforms of 30 students who will begin EMT training on Monday.
Tashonna Williams, one of the students, said she was inspired to become an EMT when responders helped her friend’s baby.
“My friend’s baby was having a hard time breathing. We called the ambulance, and while they cared for the baby, I started talking to one of the EMTs,” she said. “We ended up sitting in the ambulance in the middle of the street, talking all about her job for over an hour. She told me about the Brigade program, and influenced me to apply.”
The Black Fire Brigade was launched by a group of black firefighters in June. Quention Curtis, the organization’s founder and president, as well as a Chicago Fire Department lieutenant, donated $10,000 of his own money to train 10 people to become EMTs.
Soon after, the Brigade was flooded with donors wanting to help and people clamoring to apply. From there, the funding grew.
“Before I knew it, we had 30 young people who had applied, and 45 on the waiting list,” Curtis said. “So I went out to a bunch of firemen, and said, ‘Hey guys, we’d hate to turn anyone down. They say our young folks don’t want to do anything. We’re finding that’s not true.’ And so one by one, members of the department started stepping up to help.”