Tahlequah Daily Press

August 23, 2013

VFD enlists first female member

Staff Writer

HULBERT — srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

HULBERT – Perhaps it does not elicit the surprise it might have in decades past, but the volunteer occupation of Lindsay Krueger breaks new ground all the same.

Krueger, 18, is the first-ever female member of the Hulbert Volunteer Fire Department.

“I remember when I was young, all the boys wanted to do that - be firefighters,” Krueger said. “I wasn’t that interested. I thought, ‘No, I’ll be something else, something girly.’ But then my dad got into it. I went out on some calls with him and I really liked it.”

To enhance her qualifications to volunteer, Krueger has undergone several training regimens.

“I have my EMT and CPR training,” she said. “I have my certified medication aide training - I got that at vo-tech as a junior. I also have my phlebotomy certificate.”

Krueger is a 2013 graduate of Hulbert High School, and as one beginning her journey as an adult in the professional world, she has a crowded schedule.

“I attend classes at Northeastern State University on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” she said. “On the weekends, I work 16 hours on Saturday and another 16 on Sunday at the Cherokee County Nursing Center. I volunteer at Hulbert High School with athletics - whenever they need somebody, they call me. And if there is a fire I can get called for that, too.”

Krueger said she was often the only one on call during mornings and afternoons on weekdays during the summer.

“Most of the other volunteers have their regular jobs during the day,” she said. “I remember in one week we had 24 calls and I went out on almost all of them. Now that I am in school, I mainly go out after 3:30 p.m. and on night calls.”

About 75 percent of calls are medical emergencies, Krueger said. Most others are fires.

“When I first started and was often working by myself, there were lots of times when I was nervous,” she said. “But then you realize you can do it. I am much more comfortable with handling situations now, even if I am alone.”

When she can find the time in her congested schedule, Krueger has several interests outside the volunteer fire services.

“I like fishing and hunting and volleyball,” she said. “I have been helping coach volleyball with one of the coaches at Hulbert High School. I absolutely love range shooting. My dad and I do that all the time. I like hanging out with my family - and rollercoasters. I’m big on riding rollercoasters.”

A member of the HVFD since June, Krueger said she would have volunteered sooner if it were allowed.

“I couldn’t get on as long as I was still in high school,” she said. “You could only volunteer for a maximum of eight hours a week and you couldn’t go out on calls. But that was really the only time there was any issue about me being with the department.”

Now a full volunteer within a traditionally male-dominated occupation, Krueger said she has detected not a hint of friction from her fellow firefighters.

“There may only be one woman in the department, but half the people we deal with are women,” she said. “I can talk with women and fill out reports regardless of the situation and I think the guys appreciate that. They like having a girl around.”