Phila. Fire Officer Back on the Job After Kidney Transplant

By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Fire Department today promoted 41 officers: four to deputy chief, eight to battalion chief, six to captain, and 23 to lieutenant.

There were speeches from Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers and Mayor Michael Nutter.

“Very few people can do what you do, and fewer still can be in the position you are in,” the mayor told the assembly.

One lieutenant promoted to captain is Anne Marie Lewandowski (center of photo). She faced kidney failure just two months ago, and her sister, Ruth Redick, donated a kidney.

Now, Lewandowski has been cleared to return to full fire duty.

“I am so blessed,” she tells KYW Newsradio. “I am over the moon with joy. I can’t even explain it in words. (My sister) is a beautiful, selfless, sweet girl. I love her!”

Captain Lewandowski says she will be assigned to “fire prevention division — and I’m excited to be there!”

She had this advice for others facing adversity:

“I firmly believe you should keep your spirits high. Every day I wake up and thank God for a beautiful day, no matter what it looks like outside. It’s a beautiful day to me.”

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