Every child has a dream of what they want to be, right? When Renee Butts was little, her dream was to become a volunteer firefighter because her father was one. Sadly, when she was 14, her beloved father passed away and she was never able to volunteer with him. Renee’s story doesn’t end there, however, which is why I consider her a true hero. She was determined and never gave up, which makes for a good firefighter.
Renee is a member of the Carmel Fire Department, where she is also required to be an Emergency Medical Technician. Some days she must be ready to deal with any emergency, like fighting a fire, dealing with a car accident or helping someone who’s sick. Other days she is in the driver’s seat or working the water pump. Renee works nine to eleven days a month on 24-hour shifts. She also has a family to care for, including her husband who is also a firefighter. Dealing with family and home and working that much shows a lot of determination.
Renee remembers the first time she fought a fire. She was awoken early in the morning by the alarm. She said she was extremely nervous but did what she had to do.
When I asked Renee what the best part of her job is, she replied, “Helping people and the satisfaction of saving lives.” I think that shows signs of being a true hero. She’s always willing to do anything for anyone in need.
Renee says that her job is frightening at times, but extremely exciting. “The worst part of my job would have to be the pukers, and the reality that people do die,” said Renee. I was inspired by this because I know I would be very scared to have her job and don’t know if I could handle seeing people die.
With 140 people in her station, Renee is one of only three women, but that doesn’t bother her. She says everyone gets a fair shot and they all do the same jobs.
Fighting fires, saving lives, dealing with illness and being a minority - I think she’s amazing. We could never live without people like her who have the courage to risk their lives. Renee’s determination rubs off on me and helps me believe that I can do anything. I hope someday to be just like her: to wake up and help people every day.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.