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‘I’m honored’: Berea Fire Department hires first-ever female firefighter

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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BEREA, Ky. (WKYT) - The Berea Fire Department’s newest hire is making history. Shelby Bryant is the first female firefighter to work there, and said her new role has always been a dream of hers, ever since she was a young girl.

Now, she reports for her 24-hour shifts, training to climb the ladder.

“They said, ‘Do you know that you’ll be the first female?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ and I said ‘I’m honored,’” Bryant said.

She said the day she was offered this job, she was overcome with joy.

“It’s a huge load because you have to set the bar high, and you have a higher standard, but I’m super excited,” Bryant said.

The 25-year-old first responder has been dedicated to serving her community for years. She has worked as a volunteer firefighter, and for the Jackson County EMS.

“I live in Jackson, born in Jackson and will always remain in Jackson County, but I would consider Berea my second home,” Bryant said.

Bryant said, growing up, she was inspired by the women in her life.

“I had a few women to look at, but not many, so maybe with me, I can maybe influence other junior firemen,” Bryant said.

She said the Berea Fire Department has three female and two male junior firefighters.

Now, Bryant is pulling up her boots and putting on her gear, with the help of her new coworkers.

“They’ve all wanted to help me, no one’s turned their back against me, didn’t want to help me, it’s been open arms all the way,” Bryant said.

She said she hopes the people seeing her in her new role are inspired to fulfill a dream they’ve always had, regardless of sex or age.

For now, Bryant said she’s focused on gaining more experience. One of her goals is to eventually become an instructor.

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