BEREA, Ky. — This month, the Berea Fire Department introduced a new firefighter. Her name is Shelby Bryant.

What You Need To Know

  • Shelby Bryant became the first female firefighter for the Berea Fire Department
  • Bryant dreamed of becoming a firefighter since she was in elementary school

  • Her father is a fire chief in a neighboring county

  • Bryant said her male colleagues helped make her dream come true

She became the first female firefighter for the department.

“If you have a dream, and you want to pursue it, go for it,” Bryant said.

Her daily responsibilities include checks inspecting two fire trucks assigned to her and her partner at the station.

“Oh, I love it. I really do,” Bryant said as she stepped into a fire truck. She’s finally living her dream and gets to sit behind the big wheel.

“I love coming to work in the morning, and learning how to use this equipment, because it's not easy stuff, you know, it's not something that you have to learn and train on daily,” Bryant said. “But it's one of the best jobs that you could ever be in being a first responder is. It's a hard job, mentally and physically sometimes, but it can be the most rewarding.”

The 25-year-old said since her elementary school days, she’s dreamed of becoming a firefighter by shadowing in her father’s footsteps who’s a fire chief in the neighboring county.

“I always told them at a young age that I wanted to be a firefighter. And he's like, 'okay, well, let's do it,'” Bryant said.

But there were challenges.

“You have your fitness test, that was not the easiest thing,” Bryant said. “It's very hard for any person wanting to be a firefighter. And I would, I hate to say, because it's harder on women, but it really is.”

So her Training Officer Scott Adams at the department spent hours practicing with her. She passed the Candidate Physical Ability Test and started living her dream.

“To finally pass that test and get that out of the way, where . . . I could actually finally be paid a career firefighter, (it) was like one of the best moments of my life and my career,” Bryant said.

Her message is simple: keep on trying and don’t quit.

“If something was easy, everybody would do it,” Bryant said.

While Bryant is the Berea Fire Department's first female firefighter, she credits having support from her male colleagues who helped make her dream come true.

She’s also a mother to two children.