(ATCHISON, Kan.) The Atchison Fire Department is celebrating some of its newest recruits, and they may look a little different than the rest of the pack.
Kimberly Rauch and Korby Aversman are two of the latest female firefighters who've joined in the department. Though they’ve been on for only about a month, they say the preparation to get here was much longer.
"It took a lot of work and I was pretty excited when I passed all the physical and written tests and got hired on," Aversman said.
Patrick Weishaar, the fire captain said female firefighters had worked with the department in the past, but in recent years finding females recruits had been a challenge. When Rauch and Aversman volunteered for the role, he said it was a pleasant surprise.
"The fact that they even stepped up to the challenge to even come here and apply was great," Weishaar said.
Both Aversman and Rauch said working in a field dominated by men doesn’t phase them much, in fact, they welcome the challenge.
"When I got into the field that was a lot of the talk was being a female in a world where mainly men are," Rauch said. "That just became a challenge to overcome and that makes it that much better."
"I believe that girls can do anything that the guys can do," Aversman said
The most rewarding thing for both firefighters is the ability to help people when they need it most.
"That’s the greatest thing," Rauch said. "I’m the person they can call no matter what time it is,"
Weisharr said he hopes their story will inspire others, and change the face of firefighters in the department.
"We’re hoping that that will kinda help get a grassroots movement going to get more females interested," Weisharr said,
Rauch is a St. Joseph native, she did training a Hillyard Tech to prepare for her new firefighter role. Aversman said she's following in the footsteps of her father who served in the department for 18 years.