Botetourt County Fire & EMS helps young girls break barriers with new camp

DALEVILLE, Va. – Dozens of Botetourt County girls learn to break barriers and glass ceilings at the county’s first Girls’ Fire Camp.

Female firefighters and paramedics worked with students Saturday morning to inspire them to join the profession.

Kicking off with swooshes in the air, dozens of Botetourt County children looked up to see Carilion Clinic’s trauma center helicopter land in the field at Lord Botetourt High School.

Children between 1st and 12th grade asked series of questions.

As a paramedic for more than 20 years, Melissa Ferguson, with Carilion Clinic Flight Guard, is thrilled to inspire the next generation.

“I think it’s a really cool opportunity for all the little girls to be able to see they can be anything they want to be,” Ferguson said.

An all-women crew gathered on the track to demonstrate how to handle a car wreck.

From stabilizing a car to saving a life, Read Mountain Fire Rescue Volunteer EMT Laura Kate Jennings-Brink said showing young girls what she does feels empowering.

“Growing up this was not a thing that girls did,” she said. “I know it still isn’t super popular. I think I was probably one of the first in my group when I joined.”

Kourtnie Orth, a live-in firefighter in Troutville, said growing up she was tired of hearing how females can’t.

So she encourages every child to overcome stereotypes and reach higher.

“That no matter what they do anything is possible,” Orth said. “

The camp is in dedication to the death of Helen “Gracey” Humbert.

She died from breast cancer after serving as captain with the Botetourt County Fire & EMS.There’s no limitations to anything. And that they can do anything when they grow up.”

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Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.