Creating an example for the next generation – Honoring Black History

Honoring Black History

FRESNO, California (KGPE) – From the pages of social media to the commercials in your favorite show, the McIntyres are quickly rising to the level of the who’s who of influencers – a positive example that may help attract the next generation to Fresno Fire Department.

From Tik Tok, to Instagram, to YouTube, life with the McIntyres certainly has its fun and fabulous moments. The couple who initially made their name on social media is quickly becoming a picturesque example of the family for major companies.

The duo is made of wife and full-time influencer Chante, and firefighter husband Michael.

“When I get to work, I am the one checking the rig out making sure everything is good on it,” says Michael McIntyre.

Mcintyre works as an engineer for the Fresno Fire Department. He says he knew from a young age this is what he wanted to do.

Not seeing a face that looked like himself did give him doubts.

“Being a kid from Englewood, I didn’t think this was a possibility for me,” McIntyre recalled.

After playing college basketball, he started to think about a career in firefighting. In 2005, he got his shot – and McIntyre understands the gravity of what it means for the community to see him in uniform.

“There’s been times when you are out at the store and…usually an older black woman or a man would give me a head nod.”

A sign of accomplishment passed from generation to generation.

Fellow firefighter Deandre Douglas may have had a less public face, but the motivation to join was just as valiant.

Raised in Clovis, he recalled being inspired to protect his community after seeing firefighters on 9/11.

“There were people running into that building while to help those people while people were trying to get out,” Douglas recalled

The heroism and adrenaline of those on a mission putting others above themselves – duties that he’s carried out daily during his 14-year long career. During the conversation, Douglas recalls not seeing a firefighter that looked like him until later in life.

“I was an adult when I met my first black firefighter,” Douglas stated

It was a shared experience of being mentored by a black firefighter that brought Captain Willie Johnson to the field. He too met his first black firefighter as an adult.

For Captain Johnson, service had always been a family business. His father served in the military and his son now works for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

He recalls his first exposure to the field one summer with a wildland fire crew.

“It was the most fun I had being miserable. Growing up we didn’t go camping, I wasn’t sleeping on the ground hiking,” Johnson said

A growing passion that would become his career. He still remembers the moment the call came from the Fresno Fire Department offering him the job.

“I just want you to know that I want to scream right now but I am sitting at my desk so I can’t, I am very happy about this offer, yes!” Johnson recalled.

Still excited nearly two decades later, he is now the example for the next generation

“Walking into a fire and these two little kids one of them hits his buddy saying ‘oh my god there is a black firefighter’,” Johnson said.

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