Nevada adds second ever full time female firefighter


NEVADA, Mo. — The Nevada Fire Department officially added four new recruits last night.

One of them being the second ever full time female fire fighter.

Why did Joelene Smith choose this career?

Joelene needed a change of pace in her life, and so at the age of 38, she decided to join the fire service and become a role model for her community.

Joelene Smith, Nevada Firefighter, said, “I get little kids come up to me from the schools and Walmart and they hug me and we’ve had some fires. We’ve had a few, but with our public education and everything, you know those numbers are dropping because I get kids come up to me and tell me that they’ve changed the batteries and asked if I passed all my tests, so just to make that difference is something I can’t put into words.”

After working as a stay at home mom for years and turning 38, Joelene Smith knew what she was doing wasn’t fulfilling her.

And so she set out to become a firefighter, so she can be a role model to her four kids.

“I decided you know it’s my turn. I was working out at the gym and I got to where I know my mindset and what I can push myself to do and I can go a lot further than I thought and I’ve grown to where I love challenges.”

Now with working in Nevada as a firefighter for a year and officially getting pinned Tuesday night along with three other recruits, she’s been settling well into her new career.

And even though she’s only 5 foot one, short statured, and not a young recruit, the Fire Chief says she’s rose to the occasion.

William Thornton, Nevada Fire Chief, said,”When you look at Fire Service as a whole, the females make up about 5% roughly across the board. She’s our second full time female fire fighter that we’ve had with us. She’s worked out really well. She’s accepted the challenges. She knows there’s a lot of challenges with the Fire Service, so she has to work a little bit extra hard, but she’s reached out and every time we’ve challenged her, she’s stepped up.”

Now known as a role model within the Nevada community, Joelene hopes to encourage other women to do whatever they feel called to.

“I’ve always been told you can’t do that. You can. For sure you can. Your mind is so much more powerful than you’ll ever think. Your body is so much more. So, don’t stop. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t at all,” said Smith.

The fire chief says the four new recruits have become part of the family at the fire station and sees a bright future for all of them.

Joelene hopes to one day become an officer and continue to learn about the fire service throughout her career.

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