DETROIT (FOX 2) - Detroit police and fire honored their women of the year at a special celebration Thursday, recognizing the incredible work the female firest responders do throughout the city.
We look at the field of public safety and a lot of times we think about men making rescues and being brave - but we have women that do the same thing daily, and they do a great job at it. And I'm so thankful that we have an opportunity to thank them publically," said Eric Jones, the Detroit Fire Department's fire commissioner.
Fifteen women were nominated for the Women in Blue Officer of the Year award, and five women were nominated for the Detroit Fire Department Woman of the Year. Fire engine operator Verdine Day and police officer Sandra Whitfield took the top honors.
Whitfield is the first African American woman to be part of the DPD's underwater recovery team.
"I'm honored. It's exciting. I mean, I truly appreciate it but I'm humbled," Whitfield told us.
Day joined the fire department 33 years ago and is retiring later this year.
"I took this job as a challenge because I did not know at that time there was women on the job, so, I wanted to make a difference," she said.
"I think we all just work hard to be here all here, and be able to support and work for the community. That's what we're all here to do, is serve," Whitfield said.
Both fire commissioner Jones and police chief James Craig says they are incredibly proud of the women being honored.
"We have women that have risen through the ranks, several successful women at the rank of commander," Craig said. "We had a deputy chief here who is now the police chief in the City of Dallas, Texas. So that's a testament to the greatness of this organization."