Thanks to Mlive for this:
GRAND HAVEN, MI – It was a typical and routine day for two Grand Haven Township firefighters. But little did they know, the duo’s 12-hour shift together would be stamped in the department’s history book.
On Tuesday, Aug. 2 – for the first time in Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue’s 76-year history – Angela Headley and Sloan McLean became the first all-female crew to work a full shift.
Their historic day, however, was unintentionally planned.
“About a week before, I looked at the schedule and it just caught my eye,” fire chief Shawn Schrader told MLive. “I said, ‘Has that ever happened before?’”
On that day, both scheduled full-time employees were off and part-timers – like Headley and McLean – were able to sign up for the shift.
“It just happened that those two were both available to work that day,” Schrader said.
During a shift, firefighters have typical responsibilities, Schrader said, such as handling all calls and making sure the equipment is in working order.
“Aug. 2 was a pretty routine day, honestly,” Headley told MLive. ” … The only difference was my fellow partner was also a female.”
Headley joined the department in October 2021, and since then, it’s been an incredible experience for her.
“I was drawn to this department by the opportunity to take shifts and work in a more extensive department,” Headley said. “I appreciate the teamwork atmosphere along with the physical and mental challenge of the wide range of emergencies that we can respond to.”
Together – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on that Tuesday – Headley and McLean looked over Grand Haven Township. They completed routine truck checks, did chores around the station and ran a few medical calls.
” … I enjoy working with Sloan. I have enjoyed being part of her training in the fire service through the fire academy and at Grand Haven Township,” Headley said. “I was proud of her and the work that she put in. I knew she would be a great and reliable partner to be on shift with.”
“It was one of those moments we wanted to capture,” Schrader added, recalling of the day.
In order to timestamp that moment, Schrader took a photo of Headley and McLean – donning big smiles in front of a firetruck – and shared the news with the community, via a Facebook post.
Within a day or two, the post collected over 1,500 positive reactions, 100 comments of support, and 400-plus shares.
“To read all those comments, it shows that the community is here to support us,” Schrader said. “I appreciate what those two do for our department. But, I can also say that I appreciate what every member does for our department and their community.”
When she’s not working in the Grand Haven area, Headley is a member of Robinson Township Fire Department in Ottawa County. On top of that, she is also a part of the Ottawa County Hazardous Materials and Technical Rescue Team.
“I also run a very busy household with four sports-involved children and co-coach and play with a roller derby team in Holland,” she added.