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All-female fire and rescue crew makes history in Grand Haven Township

"If it's something that you enjoy, you can do it. There's no gender barriers," said Angela Headley.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — History was made this summer at an Ottawa County fire department, as an all-female crew headed the station for the first time in more than 70 years.

"I thought it was just a fun moment in the department's history," said Shawn Schrader, Fire Chief at Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue. 

On Aug. 2, the crew at Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue observed something they had never seen in their 76-year history.

"It was the first time we had an all-female crew on that shift," Schrader explained.

The fire/rescue department has seven full-time staff and 24 part-time staff.  Angela Headley is one of them, serving as both a firefighter and an EMT.

"It was fun for us," she said, "just being two females on shift that day taking the calls, taking the trucks out by ourselves that kind of thing."

On that day, Headley worked alongside firefighter and paramedic, Sloane McLean, and the crew posted to Facebook, but Headley said she had no idea it would get the response it did. 

"It was incredible," she said. 

Today the Fire/EMS crew made history at Grand Haven Township Fire Rescue. We are incredibly proud that the crew...

Posted by Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue on Tuesday, August 2, 2022

She added that she learned something from seeing the community's overwhelmingly positive response. 

"People want female firefighters," she said. "They supported us, congratulated us, thanked us."

"It really made me think, yes, they want us here, and we're supposed to be here," Headley added.

Chief Schrader said the post was made as a fun way to mark the department's exciting moments in history. 

"I want to always remember how hard each member works no matter if they're male or female," he said. "Whoever is part of this department, I just hope they inspire our community."

That's something Headley hopes, too. 

"I hope anyone coming along can see that anybody can take these roles," she said. "If it's something that you enjoy, you can do it. There's no barriers, and no gender barriers. You can do it."

    

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