An Abbotsford woman has won a scholarship to receive firefighter training in Texas.
Sophie Michael, 19, was the only person in North America selected for the training in partnership with Silvercore Training and the Training Division in Texas.
Michael is a graduate of Yale Secondary and has been studying criminal justice at University of the Fraser Valley.
She said it has been her dream to be a firefighter since she was a young girl.
“I have always looked up to my dad and him being a firefighter in West Vancouver really inspired me to pursue my dreams in the fire service,” she said.
Michael said she enjoys any type of community involvement – such as volunteering and coordinating events – so she thought firefighting would be the perfect fit for her.
“I have played sports my entire life and being part of a team in the fire service always sounded so special to me,” she said.
Michael represented Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service at an event called Camp Ignite last August. The four-day camp is a firefighter mentorship program for Grade 11 and 12 girls to inspire them to follow their dreams.
Participants perform the everyday tasks that firefighters do, and meet and listen to women in the field.
“Seeing so many women unite made a huge impact on my life … I saw what an impact women can make on other women in the fire service, and I would love to inspire other women as I move forward with my career path,” Michael said.
The course includes National Fire Protection Association firefighter level 1 and 2 training, as well as hazmat awareness and operations.
This work is done online, and then Michael heads to a two-week in-person boot camp in Crowley, Texas.
All her tuition costs are covered, as well as her dorm room, meals, and transportation to and from the airport for the boot camp.