18-year-old becomes first Black female graduate of Gaston Volunteer Fire Department junior firefighter program

North Carolina

GASTON, N.C. (WAVY) — A North Carolina teen is making history with the Gaston Volunteer Fire Department.

18-year-old Jade Gatling was recognized Thursday night during a graduation ceremony.

She is the first Black female cadet to graduate from the junior firefighter program.

She joined the program after seeing friends involved, and initially wanted to focus on EMT training.

Over the last year, the teen has been scaling ladders, putting out car fires and helping protect the community.

Gatling says she hopes to inspire other young girls to chase their goals.

“Just because you don’t see somebody like you doing something doesn’t mean you can’t do it. As long as you have an idea in your mind, something you wanna do, you can do it,” Gatling said.

Gatling is currently taking night classes to become an emergency medical technician.

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