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‘I’m so happy I’m in the position I am,’ Female firefighter becomes second ever in Norman

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NORMAN, Okla. – Now, she’s just one of the guys.

That’s how Jennifer Schmidt feels after becoming Norman’s second female firefighter ever.

She is also the first in decades to make it through the academy and pass the physical test.

“I didn’t apply to be the only female or to be singled out,” she said. “I love to help people. I know what it feels like to have the world crashing down around you.”

Schmidt wanted to become a firefighter after battling her own personal tragedy.

“I first got interested in it in 2007,” she said. “I used to be a jockey. I went home for the holidays, and we had a really bad house fire and lost everything; my dogs and everything.”

She says that day because firefighters were so nice, it made a lasting impact on her life.

“It took a while to get over my fear of fire after that, but I wanted to be in a position to help people in their time of need,” she told The Norman Transcript.

Schmidt graduated from the academy back in November.

“It’s huge that my parents were so supportive,” Schmidt said. “I wasn’t sure how they would feel about it when I told them I got the fire department job.”

She was working for a Midwest City ambulance service when a paramedic let her know about the open position in Norman.

Norman Fire Chief Travis King told The Norman Transcript, no female applicants made it as far as Schmidt did in his 21 years of service with the Norman Fire Department.

“We have a baseline standard for our physical agility tests, and that’s based on a state standard,” King said. “You have to have a certain level of physical ability to get the job. That baseline test says you’re physically fit enough to get into the academy.”

Schmidt just says, she’s happy to be in her new position.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “I absolutely love it. I’m so happy I’m in the position I am. All the guys have been great, as far as teaching me and letting me learn. It’s been a wonderful experience. It’s like having a family here in Oklahoma.”

She said she’s been busy but is grateful.

“I felt like I was finally on the path that God intended for me,” she said.