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Shelly Carter, the first Black fire chief in Connecticut, was surprised by Good Morning America and Mary Mary on Mother’s Day.

This past Sunday, the mother of four was brought to tears after her family and news anchor Janai Norman celebrated her at the Hamden Fire Department, according to Carter was selected out of 2,000 women as the winner of Good Morning America‘s 25th Annual Breakfast in Bed Celebration after her sister, Rene’e Sermons, nominated her earlier this spring.

“My sister is so phenomenal, not only to our family, but to the fire community, to her girls camp and I wanted the world to know that regardless of any obstacle, Shelly never stopped taking the dare,” Sermons said. “They dared you and you keep pursuing. So I wanted the world to know, as you pursue in your career, you empower women in the fire service and in our family. So whatever you do, never stop taking a dare. Never stop!”



Last year, Carter was sworn in as the Southbury Training School Fire Department Chief and this past week she was appointed as Hamden Fire Department’s next assistant chief. While Carter is well-known throughout Hamden for the endless work she does, she is also known at home for raising four boys and two exchange students who quickly became family. With the help of her children, family, and firefighters, Good Morning America worked behind the scenes to put together a surprise video for Carter. The love didn’t stop there. From a performance from Grammy award-winning Gospel duo Mary Mary to the pancake breakfast and endless donations from Expedia, Target, Stop & Shop, Seek Thermal, and Ready Rack by Groves – Carter was filled with emotions and gratitude.

As a reflection of her continuous work throughout New England, Mayor Lauren Garrett has officially declared May 10 “Shelly Carter Day” in Hamden.

Mary Mary Helps Surprise Connecticut’s First Black Fire Chief For Mother’s Day  was originally published on