Girls inspired by Toledo's past and present women firefighters

Girls inspired by Toledo's past and present women firefighters

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - An event in west Toledo on Saturday honored some important women in Toledo history while also hoping to inspire young ladies.

In 1984, the first woman firefighters were brought into the Toledo Fired Department.

Now, 33 years later, Toledo has the highest metropolitan percentage of female firefighters in the state.

At a special event held at the Toledo Fire Museum, local girl scout troops got the chance to meet with current and past women firefighters, including members of Toledo's first group of female firefighters.

"They were the ground breakers, they were the pioneers, they made it so I could be here . And I'm eternally grateful for them, because it was much harder for them back then. It was met with a lot of resistance," said Assistant Toledo Fire Chief Karen Marquardt.

Barb Aldrich's grandfather and father were both firefighters and she wanted to join their ranks.

She says the city took on woman into the department in 1984 to avoid any possible lawsuits.

But once they were within the ranks, the women were viewed just as highly as the men.

"After they realized the majority of us were there because we wanted to be firefighters and paramedics, then when we proved we could do the job and we wanted to do the job, things smoothed out," said Aldrich.

Assistant Chief Marquardt hopes the event excites an interest in first responder work within the young ladies who visited ,or at the very least shows them that girl's dreams are just as possible as boy's.

"We worked way too hard, and those women there have worked so hard that we don't want to be invisible. We want little kids coming through here and think, ,'Wow, I could do that!'," said Aldrich.

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