What to Know
- The FDNY has named a woman as Chief EMS for the first time in the department's history
- Lillian Bonsignore previously was head of the EMS academy and will now be the highest-ranking openly gay member
- The first Hispanic member was also appointed to assistant chief of EMS
For the first time in the history of the FDNY, a woman has been named chief of EMS — and has also become the highest-ranking openly gay member of the department.
“Today I proudly become somebody else’s possibility,” said Bronx-born Lillian Bonsignore, who previously was head of the EMS academy.
Bonsignore became an EMT in 1991 as an 18-year-old single parent. Twenty-eight years later, the now-mother of two will be in charge of 4,100 EMTs, paramedics, EMS officers and civilian employees.
“Amazing people who are putting it all out there on the line to save the lives of others, I could not be more proud to be somebody who represents them,” said Bonsignore.
Her wife and daughter were on hand to support her throughout the emotional day.
“I was crying the entire time … just seeing her up there,” said daughter Madeline.
The first Hispanic member was also appointed to assistant chief of EMS. Alvin Suriel, a 30-year veteran of the force and son of Dominican immigrants, now becomes second in command.