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The Real-Life Hero Gabby Dawson From Chicago Fire Is Based On

The "One Chicago" franchise may be a fictionalized take on the grueling jobs and daily lives of law enforcement officials, but that doesn't mean it isn't based on truth. "Chicago Fire," the show that kicked off NBC's massive series, was created in 2012 to showcase the gritty reality of city fire officials. The series dramatizes the relationships between the characters at the imagined Firehouse 51, but that's what keeps the story interesting to watch. The show's depiction of the chaos experienced by local firefighters and paramedics is very much rooted in reality. The show is even filmed in an actual fire station. 

"Chicago Fire" is currently airing its 10th season starring Taylor Kinney, Christian Stolte, Eamonn Walker, and more. The series has featured plenty of characters in its decade on the air, including crossovers on "Chicago PD" and "Chicago Med." 

Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund) is one of the show's original characters, and the sister of Antonio Dawson from "Chicago PD." She's been around since Season 1 when she first became the Paramedic in Charge for Ambulance 61. She's gone through plenty of phases throughout her career, ultimately sticking with her passion for saving lives. But her personal struggles, such as her intense relationships and trauma with parenting, also make up major parts of her character. 

Raymund may have departed as a full-time "Chicago Fire" star in Season 6, but some fans may not realize that her "Chicago Fire" character is based on a real-life hero. 

Dawson is based on a real-life paramedic who appears on "Chicago Fire"

Actress Kara Klimer, who has portrayed paramedic Sylvie Brett on "Chicago Fire" since Season 3, posted an Instagram photo back in 2016 with Raymund and another co-star. In her caption, she made the revelation to fans that the woman in the middle, Michele Martinez, is actually the real paramedic that Dawson's character is based off of. "This is our fearless leader," Klimer wrote in the character. "We love you and we're grateful for your service, humor, and spunk." 

According to IMDb, Martinez has actually appeared in several episodes of "Chicago Fire" as a paramedic named Michele. It's quite a full-circle moment to have a real-life hero starring alongside the actors portraying the public servants on the show. In an interview with Smashing Interviews Magazine, Raymund revealed that she did ride-alongs for several weeks with Martinez to prepare for the role. Martinez is also credited as the official paramedic consultant for the series.