PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The 94 cadets on the verge of becoming Philadelphia firefighters have accomplished what no other class before them has.
"This class started on March 16 of this year, which was at the very start of the pandemic," said Lt. Daniel Roache.
Each of the cadets, including John Taylor, has their reasons for choosing this year and this career.
"My father was one of the hardest working guys I've ever met in my life, so was my grandfather, and they instilled a lot of great values in me," said Taylor, who will be a third-generation firefighter.
Taylor was raised in the department that became his family, but his world changed in 2004 when his father, Captain John Taylor, was killed in the line of duty fighting a fire in Port Richmond.
"He was a great guy. He was definitely my hero. I always looked up to him my whole life," said Taylor.
Taylor was 18 years old at the time and said his father wanted him to go to college. He did, and life took him in a different direction.
Sixteen years later, he felt it was time to come back.
"It gives me a lot of joy, and he always told me to do what I love, and I feel like, after all this time in my life, I found what could potentially be my calling," he said.
The class mural, which was unveiled Saturday on the training grounds, tells the story of the 198th class, masked, running into ablaze, with their handbook printed behind it.
They are 94 cadets who, like Taylor, have found their calling.
Philadelphia Fire Academy cadet to become third-generation firefighter