Tabitha Vande Voort first wanted to become a firefighter after a tree fell on her father while she was still in grade school.
That desire solidified about 12 years later, thanks to a few quiet words of encouragement from the man who now leads the Oconto Fire and Rescue Department.
Vande Voort is now, another decade later, one of eight full-time career firefighters for the Department.
“It’s pretty awesome being the first female full-time firefighter in Oconto,” Vande Voort said after receiving her badge in a pinning ceremony March 12.
Fire Chief John Reed, noting her achievement was “quite an undertaking,” heartily agreed.