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CHICAGO — A graduation ceremony was held Tuesday for the Chicago Fire Department’s newest members.

Eighty-eight firefighter EMTS will begin their assignments this week. It’s part of the city’s efforts to maximize emergency medical resources during the pandemic.

The graduating class included military veterans, former Chicago police officers and graduates of Chicago Public Schools.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave a warm message to families and loved ones who were unable to attend the ceremony due to the pandemic.

“I want to give a special thanks to all of you who are watching from home for your support and your sacrifice through this process. This your day, too.”

There were no handshakes Tuesday during the unconventional ceremony — just elbow bumps — as Lightfoot noted the difficult job ahead for the graduates during a time of crisis.

“Now you know this: Your job will not be easy, and at times, it will be dangerous,” said Lightfoot. “You will encounter people who are sick, who are frightened. And sometimes you’ll find yourselves tired, discouraged and even heartbroken.”