Where Hope Lives is a debut memoir that explores the true story of a my entry into the adrenaline-fueled world of firefighting. I had no way of preparing for the fire storm of opposition to my gender and competence, nor did I anticipate the intense struggle I would endure or the victory I would ultimately achieve.
As a reverent relationship developed between me and my calling, I threw myself headlong into the male dominated world of firefighting. Over the course of three years, I endured continued intimidation and abuse but grew in my determination to become a well-respected firefighter because, “when your heart is speaking so loudly, you don’t dare argue.” Beyond any doubt I knew that even if I didn’t fit in at my first fire house, I belonged in that world. Where Hope Lives asks the question: How tenacious would you be in order to stay put in the world in which you know you belong?
All journeys through life have peaks and valleys of emotion. For me, my moments of happiness are as intermittent as flashing emergency lights, bright at times, but fleeting as quickly as they arrive. I was right where I belonged, but every time I turned around my new colleagues were trying to force me to live up to their views of what women in firefighting should be. Needing a way to cope with these new situations, a locomotive arrived gracefully into the crisp darkness in my mind. One kind soul accompanied me in this safe place away from reality. I began to rely on the spirited older man who joined me on the train; my struggle was always clear to him. Even the disappearance of my faith in mankind was not going to stop me from reaching my final destination.
Despite the subject matter, this is not just a book for firefighters. A fire house is merely the backdrop for the story that took place in a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania. My struggle and eventual success will resonate deeply in the soul of humankind. This story will certainly reach across all racial, cultural and gender divides to that universal place inside all of us where hope lives.