Posted on Thursday, Sep. 3, 2020 at 1:52 pm
Recruit Class 9 is now serving at a fire station near you! Get to know Madison's newest firefighters.
Where are you stationed?
Station 12 (S. Prairie Road), 'C' shift
What were you doing prior to joining MFD?
Prior to joining MFD, I was working as an athletic performance coach at Crossfit Madtown (shout out to Skipp and Keysha) and as a sales associate and running coach for Fleet Feet Madison (shout out to the Fleet Feet family). I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2015, where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. After graduating, I moved back to my hometown of Cross Plains. It was then that I began exploring multiple avenues within the field of health and wellness in an effort to find my niche. My number one goal has always been finding ways I can be most impactful in my community. After a few people whom I looked up to mentioned that the Madison Fire Department was hiring and that I should apply, I began to consider firefighting a real possibility. I started the journey to becoming a Madison firefighter the day I hit “submit” on my application. I remember I submitted it within the last hour of the deadline because, to me, the “submit” button was me officially committing. This meant “go big or go home” in my mind. Have the courage to go big, the reward is great.
Why did you want to pursue this career?
The first person that helped me realize I could become a firefighter was a Madison firefighter. He asked me if I had ever considered being a firefighter and encouraged me to apply for MFD. It was a seemingly simple conversation that made a previously hidden path visible and accessible for me, and it planted a seed that grew with additional encounters of encouragement. Really what attracted me to the field as a career choice was the camaraderie and the endless opportunities for growth; nothing compares. Not to mention, I enjoy crushing stereotypes while serving my community. I ended up applying and earned my firefighter certifications while in the hiring process for the MFD. Many of the women in the field that I had the opportunity to learn from at Madison College and Women in Fire/EMS events were also Madison firefighters that showed me the way on an unfamiliar path. I aspired to be like them. I chose to pursue a firefighting career with the Madison Fire Department because my values aligned with the core values that the Madison Fire Department stands for: honesty, integrity, caring, compassion, and respect. Like all of the Madison firefighters that helped make becoming a firefighter possible in my mind, I chose to dedicate my life to being someone that others can depend on as I would want to be able to depend on them.
What was your first day in the station like? Did you catch any memorable calls on Day 1?
My first day in the station was Christmas Eve. It was important to me to make a good impression on my crew and with people out in the community. When I arrived, I introduced myself to everyone and brought a couple of kringles into the kitchen for my crew, a firehouse tradition. The crew getting off shift was sitting around the kitchen table and asked where their kringle was. I smiled and said, “That’s why I brought two so you can share it.” They were a little bummed that both kringles weren’t for them, but everyone did a nice job sharing. I also remember running around a lot, cleaning, helping cook and staying busy. My senior firefighter walked me through my daily tasks and helped me out on calls. That day we got called out for five EMS calls and one fire call, all before midnight-- a busy day for Station 12!
I remember the excitement of my first fire call, it came in around 11pm. We ran out to the rig, geared up, and went lights and sirens, listening in for updates on the way to the call. I just remember thinking, “Wow, this is really happening, I am really here.” We arrived on scene and I waited for any orders to perform any needed tasks. I ended up carrying up the ram fan to help with ventilation after the fire was out. It was a good way to get my feet wet.
Feel free to share any other stories or "fun facts" about yourself!
I am 5’ 2” and I share this because I honestly didn’t know if I could become a firefighter because of my height. Don’t get me wrong, there are many challenges to overcome as a smaller firefighter, but don’t let it stop you if you are considering pursuing a firefighting career! While I was in the process for MFD, it was very motivating for me to find other firefighters that were my height. It was also helpful for figuring out different techniques to get the job done.