Laura Wythe blazes into her future career


When I was 11-years-old, the unimaginable happened. The place I called my home burst into flames.

 The firefighters on scene spent hours trying to put the fire out, and save any of the items we owned.  By the time the fire was out, we had almost nothing left.

 Although we lost many items that we held close to our hearts, the firefighters managed to save some of our most important items. They left no person or animal behind.

 I know the risk of a firefighter saving valuables from a house is massive. The firefighters used their limited time that they had to help me. This experience made me think about the courage that it took to be a firefighter. 

The firefighters treated my family like they would have treated their own. I began to wonder what it took to become a firefighter and the things I would need to do. This is what made me want to become a firefighter and help save peoples lives. 

At the age of 17, I decided to begin pursuing firefighting as a career. I registered for a firefighting class at the Knox Technical Center. After getting accepted and starting the class, I ran into a few challenges. Some of them being my size, my patience, and my ability to stay buckled down.

 I was faced with outsiders telling me that I was not strong enough to compete. The amount of time and work into becoming a firefighter is endless. I learned something new everyday. I could never learn enough. 

Something I remember often that an instructor once said was, “I’ve been in the fire service for more years than you have been alive, and I still haven’t learned everything.” This sat with me.

 Although classes were long and make-up corrections took hours to complete, I had to learn to be  patient. Instead of constantly looking at the clock, I looked further into my book during classes while instructors were presenting to prepare myself for future quizzes.

 One of my biggest struggles during this class was learning how to buckle down. I had to learn to manage my time and take everything seriously and efficiently. Going to high school for six hours and then going to training for four hours made it difficult for me to keep up with my studying. 

  Words of encouragement helped boost my progress. I started to get things done. I started to pass more tests. I started studying more and more everyday. I improved more than I thought I ever could. I also gained physical strength. Items that were heavy to carry became easy. I also gained a little respect from other people in the class.

 With the class starting to come to an end we have started testing. I passed my final state exam on April 13th, and I am ready to begin my future.