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FAST FIVE Katie Hron: Forever grateful for her fire family

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | April 29, 2023 1:00 AM

Meet Katie Hron, a freelance deposition court reporter who volunteers as a firefighter with Hauser Lake Fire Protection District. Katie grew up in a family of firefighters, dating back several generations. She was inspired to join the fire department after spending the summers of her youth riding along on her father’s fire truck and ambulance. She is currently enrolled in the EMT class through Hauser Lake Fire and looks forward to serving her community in the future as an emergency medical technician.

1) How long have you been interested in firefighting, and when did you join Hauser Fire?

I grew up around firefighters and in fire houses, starting from a young child. Seeing my family members doing this amazing work and fulfilling a community need was just a part of normal everyday life. I never viewed it as a sacrifice or challenge, just something that was a privilege to be a part of. I still have that feeling of privilege and gratitude to this day. It is a blessing to be able to serve my community.

2) What are some of the joys of being a woman firefighter, and what are a couple challenges?

To quote my father, Eric Hron, “Women brought something to the fire service that we didn’t know we were missing.” Every member of the team has a vital role to play, and each individual is able to contribute different things to the job. As a woman, learning compassionate strength has been essential to my success in the firefighting field. I find it very fulfilling when I’m able to comfort a patient or family member while also using my skills and knowledge of firefighting equipment and techniques to preserve life and

property. It’s been a wonderful journey of learning my own strengths and weaknesses on the job. I am always amazed at how I can surprise myself by doing tasks I never thought I would be capable of. With the help of my mentors and peers, who have been phenomenal instructors, guides and leaders, I have been able to surpass my own expectations.

3) What was one of the most exciting days you have experienced on the job so far?

I would say the most exciting days I’ve experienced on the job have been days that we have had a patient who was on the brink of death, and my team was able to bring them back. There is no feeling that compares to knowing that my actions, along with my crew, contributed to someone’s life continuing for another day. After seeing a patient not breathing on scene, and then sending them to the hospital fully alert, there is always a moment of disbelief that I get to have the joy of experiencing this job. There are ups and downs in this field, but every day is worth it.

4) What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

People may be surprised to learn that when I started this volunteer position in 2021, I was dealing with some major health problems. I had recently been diagnosed with Stage III endometriosis after several years of misdiagnoses and dismissals. My first few months with the fire department were littered with missed days due to pain and various other symptoms as well as numerous doctor’s visits. Throughout this arduous journey, which resulted in multiple surgeries and substantial improvements to my health, my fire family has supported me completely. Not only were they understanding and kind about my missing calls and volunteer opportunities, but they also sent kind words and gifts while I was recovering from surgery. The entire experience solidified my belief that the fire department is a family first and foremost. I am forever grateful for my fire family.

5) What would you say to little girls who look up to you and want to be a firefighter when they grow up?

My advice to little girls is to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your weaknesses and addressing those issues can become one of your greatest strengths. You will fail at many things in life, just as I have. Do not let that discourage you. Keep pushing. Each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and failure is a vital step on the journey of learning about yourself and how amazing your life can be. Try a lot of things, pick yourself up when you fail, know when to say no and enjoy every step of life’s journey.