Jodie Carroll's childhood was a bit … unsettled.
Born in Minneapolis, she and her mother moved with her entrepreneur father to Boston, then Georgia, then back to Minneapolis. At age 11, Carroll moved with her family to a farm near Onamia, Minn. Athletic, with a love of physical activity, Carroll found belonging in sports. Still, being the only Black girl in school was culture shock.
High school graduation meant a return to Minneapolis. But a year at Augsburg University taught Carroll that college wasn't for her.
A series of jobs — "a little of this, a little of that" — followed. Then Carroll overheard a conversation at a party about the St. Paul Fire Department's upcoming Women's Expo.
"I went," she said. "And that was it for me. I knew it." It was March 2018. She was 44 and a single mother of three girls. She threw herself into training and broke the women's record for test time, finishing the course — which must be completed in under 7 minutes — in 3 minutes, 7 seconds.