Quantcast


18-year-old is a full-fledged firefighter with the Hillsville Volunteer Fire Department

Last updated: June 09. 2014 12:17PM - 1969 Views
By - mhowlett@civitasmedia.com



Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:

Morgan Ayers has always been a girl who followed a different path than most of her gender. She plays on Carroll County High School’s boys’ golf team and even participated in the boys’ wrestling program for a while. So it should come as no surprise that the recent high school graduate is a member of the Hillsville Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD).


“Two years ago I was in agriculture class at the high school and some of the guys started talking about joining the fire department. I had never really thought about being a firefighter, but I like to do stuff most girls wouldn’t do, so I joined,” said Ayers, who has always had the blessings of her parents, John and Brandy Ayers, when it came to her endeavors.


“My parents have always let me try any sport I wanted to play. Now, mom thinks being a firefighter is the best thing. She’s very proud,” she said.


Ayers joined the fire department as a member of the Cadet Program, then moved to full membership status when she turned 18. She already has her Level 1 and Level 2 Firefighter credentials, which qualifies her to be a firefighter anywhere in the United States. Of her 240 hours of training, 36 have come in hazardous materials (HazMat), and in a few days she will be taking her state certification test for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).


“The amount of training she’s had really speaks to her dedication. She’ll be a quality asset to some department,” said HVFD Assistant Chief Mike Musser, who has conducted some of Ayers’ training. “She is not afraid to get her hands dirty. When there’s a battle, she jumps right in.”


Ayers said being a female in a male-dominated field hasn’t been a problem.


“(The other firefighters) treat me the same way they treat each other, like one of the guys. They’re like a bunch of brothers,” she said.


Although it took a while to get used to the weight of the equipment and wearing the air pack, Ayers said she was determined to carry her weight.


“If I couldn’t do it to begin with, I found a way to get the job done,” she said.


In addition to being a member of the local fire department, Ayers is a Wildland Firefighter with the Virginia Department of Forestry.


“Most guys don’t like wildfires, but I do. I like the fires where I get to use my tools,” said Ayers, who spent four days last Easter in Buchanan County fighting a wildfire.


Ayers plans to attend Southwest Community College in order to become a paramedic, and hopefully earn her living as a paid firefighter or as a member of an ambulance service at least for a while. Her ultimate goal, however, is to become a flight nurse.


Michael Howlett can be reached at (276) 728-7311 or on Twitter at @MikeEHowlett


Comments
All user comments are subject to our Terms of Service. Users may flag inappropriate comments.
comments powered by Disqus



Featured Businesses


Poll



Info Minute



Gas Prices

Hillsville Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com