MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Like mother, like daughter.
This duo from Long Island volunteered for their local fire department and now the two are pioneering a lot of firsts, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.READ MORE: Vice President Kamala Harris Promotes Biden's Infrastructure Plan In The Bronx
A day in the life of Jestina Bryan-Collins often includes sirens in her downtime.
A state courts sergeant, Bryan-Collins reached the rank of captain in the Massapequa Fire Department. She’s the first woman and first African-American captain.
“I never came in here to be the first. I came in here to do something I love,” Bryan-Collins said.
She was also first to bring her daughter to work… permanently. They’re volunteer EMTs working side-by-side.
“I just think it’s an amazing thing to do for the community, so we both came down and we signed up together and here we are, nine years later,” said Bryan-Collins’ daughter Jestina Collins.
“We took classes together, we learned together, we took our test together, we passed together,” Bryan-Collins said. “We didn’t cheat, but we both got the exact same score.”
She gave her daughter her name. Now Collins, 30, credits her mom for also giving her a mission.READ MORE: NYPD: Suspect Grabbed 11-Year-Old Girl's Hair, Tried To Choke Her At Stuyvesant Square Park
“They’re not calling an ambulance for a free ride. They’re in sometimes the worst position they’ve ever been in, and to be able to help individuals with my mom, it’s absolutely amazing,” Collins said.
Women make up only 5% of the department. This rare mother-daughter team sends a message.
“A message that women are welcome and it’s a family. It’s a second family for all of us,” said Massapequa Fire Chief David Batt.
Long Island fire departments always need volunteers age 18 and up.
“It is no longer the ‘good old boys’ club.’ These good old boys are welcoming every mother, every daughter, every female. They’re welcoming everyone,” said Bryan-Collins. “You can be the first at something else, whether you’re the first in you family.”
They hope their example will help recruit others.
“That’s what everyone’s here for. Humanity and what we should be doing, which is giving back,” said Bryan-Collins.
On Mother’s Day, the two will enjoy some well-deserved downtime: gardening.
But as always, they’ll be on standby to answer the next call to serve their community.MORE NEWS: National Pizza Month: More Chefs, Restaurants Pivoting To Pizza Due To The Pandemic
Bryan-Collins is a former Army medic. Her daughter is an attorney for the Department of Homeland Security.