GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – In Trumbull County, one woman is setting a precedent. She was hired as the first full-time female firefighter in Girard. The first since the city started employing full-time firefighters 104 years ago.
Chelsea Harris is making history in Girard.
“I feel a special connection to this city,” she said.
Harris said she was intimidated at first to be Girard’s first full-time female firefighter.
“But we’re all held to the same standard. I just have to work a little harder at it sometimes.”
“She’s one of us,” said Capt. Luke Grunder, president of IAFF Local 1220. “I don’t look at her as a female, I look at her as another firefighter.”
“I was excited to prove myself, excited to work with these guys. Definitely a great group of guys that I work with,” Harris said.
The city first started hiring full-time firefighters in 1915 but up until May 28, 2019, the full-timers have only been men.
“It’s different only because we never experienced it before,” Grunder said. “She’s fantastic, though. You can’t ask for better. She’s willing to train to get down and dirty just like everyone else.”
This is Harris’ first full-time firefighter gig but she’s been working part-time at different departments for about seven years.
She said since she was younger, this is something she wanted to make a career out of.
Harris leaves this advice to other woman looking to do the same.
“Follow your dreams. If you think you can do it, work hard and put the effort in. Make it happen.”