101-year-old woman recalls being a volunteer first responder

Julie Ryan became a volunteer firefighter in 1944 after most of the male firefighters had been sent off to fight in World War II

By FireRescue1 Staff

QUEENS, N.Y. — A 101-year-old woman recalled being a volunteer firefighter during World War II and forming an ambulance corps.

NY Daily News reported that Julie Ryan joined the Rockaway Point firehouse in 1944 when most of the male firefighters were drafted to fight in World War II.

All the men had to leave, that’s what happened here,” Ryan said.

Ryan said she’s thought about her years as a volunteer ever since.

“I did deliver a baby in the snow. We couldn’t get the ambulance to go all the way to Rockaway, to the hospital,” Ryan said. “I saw her last year and she thanked me – she’s a grown woman now, and I helped to deliver her as a baby.”

Ryan helped form the Ambulance and Rescue Corps. after the war and served for more than 60 years.

“When they came back, the ladies stayed,” she said. “We learned to man the ambulance.”

Ryan, who is now cared for by her children, said it was her duty to volunteer to help the people who were already on edge.

“You’re helping people that can’t help themselves,” she said. “That’s how I put it.”

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