We Only Succeed When We Work as a Team

I feel fortunate to have two of the best career I believe anyone can have. The first is my family—being mother to two wonderful girls and wife to an exceptional husband—and the second is being a firefighter. As a young firefighter/EMT, I realized I would never be content with a “that’s good enough” mentality; I was never satisfied with being static. I always have a goal and, when I achieve that goal, I create a new one that will promote growth and development.

Both of my careers come with their unique rewards—and challenges. One such challenge in the firefighter arena includes today’s multifaceted politics. When a female firefighter is promoted or honored with special recognition, her achievement can sometimes be questioned: Was the advancement or recognition the result of being a member of a minority, or was it truly deserved? I handle this skepticism by simply trying to be a better person today than I was yesterday, and by trying to help build up others up to become the best they can be. These traits have allowed me not only to improve myself, but they are also an asset to my department and have helped me earn every position I have pursued.

I have achieved many things of which I am proud, and those things should be celebrated no matter my gender or race. I will not pretend that I have not at times failed miserably. I attempt to focus on what I have learned from various aspects of those failures, to not make excuses, to be accountable for my actions or my failures to act, and to try, try again. I have not achieved my goals on my own, and I truly believe we only succeed when we work as a team. All that I have accomplished in both of my careers can be attributed to the tremendous support I receive from my family, friends, and coworkers.

As a leader, I measure my success by the extent to which I influence others to take the time to improve themselves by learning something new each day. As a mother, my success comes from knowing that my children have learned that through determination, dedication, persistence, and hard work they can achieve anything to which they set their minds.

I am so proud of my girls, my husband, and my fire department family. And I am honored by this recognition. Thank you.