YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Capt. Courtney Kelly has had the firefighting bug since she was a little girl.
“Once I became a paramedic, I was, I was sold on fire,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who has been with the Youngstown Fire Department for 15 years, was the last female hired by the department.
It’s little wonder that her daughter, Maddie, now wants to take her shot, ever since completing the firefighter academy at Choffin Career and Technical Center.
“Once I did that, then it kind of switched my mind, and I know that I just wanted to do this job,” Maddie Kelly said.
Last month, Maddie became only the second woman to pass the department’s tough agility test since her mother did it in 2006. Now, she’s on a waiting list, along with other potential recruits.
Of the 28 who took the written exam, only 20 of them took the agility test for the department, and four of them failed it. Maddie was the only female who passed, and she beat her mother’s time from 15 years ago.
Maddie said she spent six weeks training before taking the test.
“I just knew that I had to do this work in order to pass the test, and in the end, it would be, it would be all worth it,” she said.
The word “service” is nothing new to the Kellys. Courtney’s husband is with the Youngstown Police Department, and another daughter is studying to become an officer.
Courtney understands her daughter’s drive to succeed.
“I keep saying, ‘why?’ but I know why. It’s pride. She’s proud; just like me,” she said.
“I was proud. Proud of myself ’cause I really just did this test to prove to myself that I could do it,” Maddie said.
Right now, the department has about 110 firefighters. Ten years ago, there were close to 140, but more hiring hasn’t yet been approved.
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and if it happens, if it doesn’t, I guess I’ll have to wait two years and take it again,” Maddie said.