Milford prepares to add 2 women to fire department ranks

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According to the National Fire Protection Association, only 4.1 percent of all firefighters are women and Milford is changing that one woman at a time.

Milford Assistant Chief Amy Goan with the Milford Fire Department made history by becoming the first full-fledged *female firefighter since the department was founded in 1846.

"My husband was going to be out of town so I didn't even tell him," Goan said. "I was like nothing is going to come from this so why say anything. I had the interview, they said if you can start the fire academy in another couple weeks, I was like okay. My husband came home from that hunting trip and I had to tell him that I joined the fire department - he was like what?"

The rest is history. In 2004 Amy Goan would become the first woman to transition from probation to becoming a full firefighter in Milford fire's more than 170-year history.

"I found out eventually (and) I was amazed," she said. "But by then I had heard all the stories and the reasoning why and people's opinions of why that might be. It felt good."

She says she was drawn to service.

"I grew up walking to and from school, every day, passing the fire station for eight years," she said.

Being the only woman wasn't easy but it’s clear she's an example of success in a male dominated field.

"There were times when I definitely felt I was not one of the boys," she said. "I was not trying to be one of the boys I was just trying to do the job."

"She definitely gives us some big shoes to fill," said Tabitha Banks, probationary firefighter.

Banks and Madison Ayers are two female firefighters who look up to Goan. Both are on probation in Milford, but getting so close to making some history of their own. They are on track to be the second and third to achieve what Goan has attained - although they don't know who will get there first.

"It's huge but it is also nerve-wracking at the same time knowing I am that close," Ayers said. "At the same time I am so very excited because it is a great job. It's rewarding."

"Believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want," Banks added.

The advice of these ladies - and the chief - is to follow your dreams.

"Go for it, you never know until you try," said Chief Thomas Moore. "It is not an easy job, you see a lot of things you probably want to forget, but it is a calling."