By Maria Roman
There are stories that stand out in every community and Yaniris Cardona’s story is one of value, especially when considering her achievement as the “first.” Yaniris earned that title when she became the first Latina firefighter in the New Haven Fire Department’s (NHFD) 153-year history. The New Haven Hispanic Firefighters Association, in partnership with the Latino Officers Society, during their 13th Annual Scholarship and Recognition Banquet at Amarante’s Sea Cliff, presented Yaniris with a special award for her dedication as a firefighter. When she was handed the award, Fire Chief Allyn Wright described her performance as excellent in all areas. Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, she also stood out in both academics and athletics, receiving a Division 1 scholarship before coming to Connecticut at age nineteen, later to begin her career as a firefighter for the NHFD. “Yaniris has brought the same competitive spirit and determination” was said about her during the ceremony.
Among the dignitaries and community leaders who were honored and who attended the ceremony, New Haven’s Mayor Toni Harp praised the minority leaders for their community service. Harp in 2014 also became a “first” – in addition to being the second African American when she was elected, she was the first female mayor of New Haven.
Yaniris Cardona is stationed at the Hill Fire Station, Engine 11, where a large population of Latinos resides. Jordan Adams, a fellow firefighter from her station house, said, “Having diverse crews is helpful and it’s comforting to the community.”