BALTIMORE (WJZ) Standing in front of the fireboat bearing her father’s name, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looked at an old photo of her mother christening the vessel that didn’t quite line up with her memory.

Pelosi seemed to remember that she had broken the bottle over the boat’s bow. Presented with this evidence to the contrary, she recalled how she was made to feel special when the Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. was dedicated.

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“I was a teenager at the time, they made me feel very important that day,” she said. “Maybe I got to touch the bottle or something.”

After nearly six decades in service, the boat was decommissioned in 2015 and stored for a period at Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point.

Now, the “Tommy” has a new home at the Fire Museum of Maryland in Lutherville, where it is being restored thanks in large part to funding from Pelosi’s charitable foundation.

“Without her efforts and the support of her family, this boat would not be sitting here, and I venture to say it would probably be tin cans or razor blades by now,” said the museum’s executive director, Stephen Heaver.

Pelosi said the boat is “a source of great pride” for her family, but the ultimate recognition goes to the men and women around the country who work as first responders.

Both Pelosi’s father and brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, another Baltimore mayor, believed anyone who wants to fun for public office should follow the motto “be true to the men in blue.” At the time they were in City Hall, she noted, very few women were serving in police and fire departments.

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In 2022, their saying extends to men and women in the police force as well as the fire department.

“I do believe that the firemen across the country are our country’s nobility,” Pelosi said. “They’re the ones who risk their lives against a danger that is so uncertain, and when they leave home, they do so with great courage to protect the American people.”

Multiple generations of the D’Alesandro attended Monday’s event. Elected officials Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. were also in attendance.

The two lawmakers gave speeches drawing comparisons between the politician and the boat.

“This boat was made to grind just like Tommy Jr,” Ruppersberger said.

“It was powerful and has a long life dedicated to service, and Baltimore is because of that service,” Olszewski said.

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Once the boat is fully restored, visitors will be able to step aboard, tour the wheelhouse and learn about the importance of marine firefighting for port cities like Baltimore.

Sina Gebre-Ab