A veteran paramedic who overcame a hardscrabble Bronx childhood to log an incredible 28 years with the FDNY will have stars in her eyes and four more on her collar Tuesday as the history-making new Chief of EMS.
Lillian Bonsignore, a single mom barely out of her teens when she started as an emergency medical technician in 1991, becomes the first woman to hold the rank in the department’s 154-year history. She takes over the FDNY’s 4,500-strong EMS department from the retiring Chief James Booth.
With her promotion, Bonsignore, 50, will also set two new milestones for the FDNY — becoming the highest-ranked woman in the uniformed service, and the highest-ranked openly gay member.
“It’s kind of odd that the thing I get celebrated for the most – people are always like, ‘Wow, you’re a woman and you’re gay’ – are the two things I put the least work into,” chuckled Bonsignore, now a mother to two daughters.