A new D.C. firefighter follows in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and fallen uncle.
James Carter Jr. was among the more than 40 new firefighters who graduated from the D.C. Fire & EMS Training Academy Friday.
“I applied five years ago,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life. It was all worth it. It was a long time coming.”
Carter’s father, a retired D.C. firefighter, had the honor of presenting his son with his graduation certificate.
“How proud I am of him,” James Carter Sr. said. “He’s going to do a great job.”
Also in the crowd, Carter Jr.’s grandfather, a retired Bethesda firefighter.
“It makes me feel good that they followed in the footsteps of the old people, you know,” Roy Carter said. “They see how great it is to be a firefighter.”
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Another firefighter in the family made the ultimate sacrifice almost 22 years ago.
In October 1997, Sgt. John Carter, Carter Jr.’s uncle, was battling a three-alarm blaze inside a corner store in Northwest D.C. when the floor beneath him collapsed, killing him.
“Some big shoes to fill,” Carter Jr. said. “My dad was a lieutenant, my uncle was a sergeant. He’s well known across the country.”
Several of Friday’s graduates are legacies as well.
“It’s something that some people will never understand, but when you’ve been brought up around it your whole entire life, it’s something you cannot do without day in, day out,” Carter Sr. said.