By Erika Wells The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Carolyn Head was a vet technician for six years but always wanted to pursue her dreams of becoming a firefighter. She says she had the desire to become a firefighter since she was a child and it strengthened following 9/11.
The August Chronicle, Ga.
Every time ranger and wildland firefighter Carolyn Head helps her team put out fires, she shows how women can be successful in any career they chose.
Head is the first woman in her position with the Columbia-Richmond County unit of the Georgia Forestry Commission. The Grovetown resident started with the commission in September 2018.
"When I show up to fires, I can see that I'm not what the other firefighters expected," she said. "Everybody needs to get past the stigma of women being in male-dominated fields. It's important for women to know that we can do anything we want to do."
Head was one of three women who went through the Wildland Firefighting Academy this spring. She was nervous when she started training because she did not have any related experience, but she overcame her fear and became a role model to her peers. Head led a 30-man handcrew to properly extinguish a wildfire.
She had been a veterinary technician for six years until deciding it was not a good fit and that she wanted to pursue her dreams. Head said she has had the desire to become a firefighter since she was a child and it strengthened following 9/11. She later became curious about dealing with fires that do not involve buildings.
Although Head acknowledges the pressure to prove she can handle the job, she knows when to ask for help.
"There are things that are a little bit harder for me but easier for males; that's just how it is," Head said. "There are things that I can't lift or push, but that's why I have such a great commission. There are always guys around to help me. We're here to help each other."
She also has support from her husband and her parents, and she draws strength from reflecting on what she has accomplished. "Any time things get hard or I feel down, I think back to the academy and how I overcame everything that I was afraid of and I came out of there a much better ranger," Head said. "That's what gets me through." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.