HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Tyler Kerch
Dozens of family members and friends filled the Mission Memorial Auditorium for a special promotion ceremony.
The ceremony recognizes the Honolulu Fire Department's finest, honoring 16 fire captains and 30 firefighters. One of those recognized was Debbi Eleneki, who became the first female Fire Battalion Chief. Eleneki happened to also be the first female firefighter to serve in the Honolulu Fire Department.
Eleneki encourages anyone to pursue firefighting. One of her biggest accomplishment is being a positive influence on her children. "It's an occupation that brings so much pride and honor wearing the uniform," she said.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell was there to honor the firefighters and the new Battalion Fire Chief and also recognize the accomplishments of the department towards diversity and gender equality.
"I am just so, so darn proud today to see that our first woman firefighter is now being promoted to being a battalion chief." Since 2001, the Honolulu Fire Department has seen a 300 percent increase in female firefighters.
This year marks the 146th anniversary of the Honolulu Fire Department making it the oldest Fire department in the United States that is west of the Mississippi.