Many kids dream about what they want to be when they grow up, but a Michigan teen is well on her way to starting her career as a firefighter.
Everlee Chandler, 17, is a young woman on a mission. She started at the Springfield Fire Explorers program at just 15-years-old and she'll be a full-fledged firefighter when she turns 18-years-old.
Chandler spends her mornings and afternoons just like most teens, in school and trying to get through Math class.
She breaks up her time between the Calhoun Area Career Center, where she is a Criminal Justice student, and Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, but as soon as the bell rings she's not headed out with friends or to another extracurricular activity.
Many days the 17-year-old heads to the Springfield Fire Department.
“Thinking about, that you have the potential to go and save lives. It really kind of sparked my interest,” Chandler said.
Chandler was just one of three people, and the only female, to make it through Springfield's Fire Academy.
The fire bug is in her blood. Her father is a captain in the department.
She said she feels compelled to help and knows she's got what it takes.
“I'm one of the guys. I can do just as much of the guys can,” she said.
“It's amazing. I want more kids out there in the streets to experience not only just firefighting, but getting into an explorer post and getting off the streets, something to do for them. Everlee is a go-getter,” Springfield Fire Department Chief Joe Teixeira said.
Chandler has just one piece of advice for others, especially girls and young women, who want to follow a similar path.
“If you want to do something, work for it and don't let anybody get in your way. Especially at 17 and being a girl, people tell you girls, that's a man's job you hear that a lot but it's not. Girls can do it just is better, just as good as guys, or even better,” she said.
Teixeira said she has all the credentials, but won't be allowed to perform all of the duties until she turns 18-years-old in October.
Chandler is already thinking long term. She said she wants to go into the Criminal Justice field.
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