Regina Wilson Chosen as 1st Female President of 75 Year-Old Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters

FDNY firefighter Regina Wilson has been elected as the first female president of the Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters.
FDNY firefighter Regina Wilson has been elected as the first female president of the Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters.

For the first time in its 75-year history, the Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters has elected a female president.  Regina Wilson’s new role is the latest achievement for the pioneering firefighter from Brooklyn who joined the FDNY in 1999.  “Being named president of such a wonderful organization is somewhat surreal,” Wilson, 45, told the Daily News on Friday.

A graduate of Tilden High School, Wilson joined the department as only its 12th African-American woman.  It was a job she never imagined holding.

Wilson was working as an accountant at a utility company when she attended a job fair at the Javits Center. It was there that members of the Vulcan Society recruited her to join the FDNY.  “I didn’t even think it was something that I could do,” Wilson said.

She’s now based out of Engine 219 in Park Slope and also works as an instructor at the Fire Academy on Randalls Island.  “It’s a full circle experience for me,” said Wilson, of Crown Heights.

“I have the opportunity to help and to mold and nurture people that are trying to be firefighters.”

Wilson, seen with fellow graduates at Brooklyn College, was the only woman in her class and the 12th African-American woman to join the FDNY when she entered the department in 1999.  (DAVID HANDSCHUH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Wilson, seen with fellow graduates at Brooklyn College, was the only woman in her class and the 12th African-American woman to join the FDNY when she entered the department in 1999. (DAVID HANDSCHUH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

After 16 years in the department, Wilson said she’s finally seeing a concerted push to make it more inclusive.

“With the new administration, I, for the first time, feel hopeful,” Wilson said.

The FDNY, which was successfully sued by the Vulcan Society for discrimination last year, still has a long way to go.

Wilson remains one of only 10 African-African women on a force of more than 10,000 firefighters and officers, according to the Vulcan Society.

Former Vulcan Society President John Coombs hailed Wilson’s election as a historic moment for an organization dedicated to promoting diversity.  “We stand for what we fight for, which is inclusion and diversity in the FDNY,” Coombs said.

article by Rich Schapiro via nydailynews.com

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