Fresh out of college, playing women’s professional baseball, coaching and working, I ran into then Captain Bob Kahn of PFD. I was privileged to join in some of his daily workouts at my place of work and got to listen to him talk about his love for his job. Not many people in the world today love their careers that much, so that motivated me to learn more about the fire service. He let me observe an anti-drowning campaign he was directly involved in. Although there were policemen in my family, the impact of that event and additionally hearing many stories of key calls that spoke of teamwork and camaraderie swayed me hook, line and sinker towards the “hose draggers”. I looked at firefighting as a combination of my degree in Exercise Science and team sports which I had been playing all my life.
I spent many hours with some excellent mentors doing ride-alongs in both Phoenix and Chandler and had the privilege of joining MFD in 1999 as the only female in a class of 25 Mesa and 4 Salt River members.
I was made Engineer right after my son was born, and he is proud that his mom drives a fire truck! Currently as an Engineer paramedic, I have had an overall positive experience in my career. The best advice I can give to other women thinking of this as a career path is it is imperative to be able to wear many hats and let your fun side show and still have the ability to be a professional. I relate this to being able to play multiple positions on the team to make you an invaluable player. Ultimately, we see people on quite possibly their worst days and have to work as a team player to make the outcome for them as positive as possible. It is a different challenge everyday , and my fire department brothers and sisters have become my family. I am blessed daily! ~Kara Osborne Collom