Annette Holt never knew a female firefighter when she was growing up. Nor had she ever met an African-American firefighter. It’s all the more reason why she had to join and now finds herself, after 30 years in the Chicago Fire Department, making history as the first woman of color to lead the CFD in the department's 162-history. The Chicago City Council voted in late June of 2021 to approve Holt’s selection. Prior to that, the trailblazer was the first female to be named First Deputy Commissioner of the CFD. “It’s a tough job, no doubt, and you’re going to get dirty, but it’s a very, very rewarding job," Holt tells Start TV. Watch the interview in the video above.
Since she got her start, she also founded the organization Purpose Over Pain, after her son Blair Holt was killed by gun violence while trying to protect his friend on a Chicago city bus. From these positions, she doesn't just put out fires and do her part to keep her community safe. She also serves as a positive role model for every young girl she sees herself in, encouraging them with the enthusiastic message, “You can be like this, too! Girl power!”
Watch Holt discuss the inspiring work she does every day: