July 28, 2006 – New St. John firefighter Wendy Davis stood out from her training class of nine for several reasons. For starters, she was the only woman. She was also the only student to hold Emergency Medical Technician certification; and Davis beat out the men to win the physical training award at last week's graduation ceremony.
No surprise there because Davis also works as a personal trainer at Gym in Paradise.
"And I love to go surfing, I like swimming and I like to run," she said.
Davis, 31, said she plans to use her downtime while on Fire Service duty to study for her personal trainer certification, as well as complete continuing education credits required to keep up her EMT certification.
After moving to St. John in 1998, this Owensboro, Ky., native bartended at Quiet Mon Pub and J.J.'s Texas Coast Café and did odd jobs here and there.
Membership in St. John Rescue provided free training for her EMT certification, an achievement that sowed the seeds for her firefighter career.
"It's a nice sense of accomplishment to help someone who needs it," she said.
A friend whose husband was a firefighter told her about the opportunities available with the Fire Service. She said she dragged her feet on applying because she didn't think she'd have a chance.
However, after applying, she successfully passed all the preliminary hurdles – the test, the physical fitness test and the interview. Then came 16 weeks of training on St. Thomas, a long journey made more difficult by the arduous five-day-a-week commute from her home in Coral Bay.
"Most days, I went on the six o'clock ferry and came home on the six," she said, glad that it's behind her.
She said that her status as the only woman in the class made no difference to the trainers or her colleagues.
"Everyone treated me like one of the guys," she said, adding that she didn't expect special treatment.
As for the physical fitness test that earned her a big trophy at the firefighters' graduation ceremony, she said she scored a 291 out of a possible 300.
Davis said she's also pleased that her job as a firefighter puts her in touch with the West Indian community.
"It makes me feel more like part of the community," she said.
Davis has one child, Grant, 11, who lives most of the time with his father in the states.
However, Grant was on hand for the graduation ceremony, giving his mother a big hug as friends offered their congratulations.
For now, Davis is assigned to the Cruz Bay station, but she said eventually she'll work out of the Coral Bay station.
"So there will be an EMT on each shift," she said.
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