Courageous Women in Blue – Flint, Michigan
Though still far behind their male counterparts, the number of women in the traditionally male-dominated professions of policing and firefighting is growing each year. Courageous Woman Magazine was able to speak to four of these women and was impressed by their dedication to their jobs and love for their communities.
By Falessia Booker
Photos by Rynell Walker
For the past 14 years, Jennifer Sly has been a K-9 officer with the Port Huron Police department. She has been paired with her 7-year old partner Braddock since 2009. Jennifer grew up on a farm with a lot of animals and really likes dogs, so when the K-9 officer position camp up, Sly says, “it seemed like a natural move.” Jennifer says the best part of her job is when she and Braddock track down a bad guy. She likes to help people and enjoys locking up criminals and helping people who can’t help themselves.
Kristal Fuqua is a firefighter for the city of Flint Fire Department, a position she’s held for four and a half years. Fuqua became interested in firefighting when she saw how hardworking, brave, and dedicated firefighters are. Fuqua says, “I saw an opportunity to become a big part of the community where I live.” Kristal says the best part of her job is being able to share her knowledge of fire safety with the citizens of Flint.
Amy Rygwelski is an Apparatus Operator 2nd Driver for the City of Flint. Amy has been a firefighter since 2004. Being a firefighter has been a childhood dream of hers for as long as she could remember. Regarding her role as a firefighter, Amy says, “There are so many wonderful things about my job. Being able to respond to a call, knowing you are there to help someone in their most vulnerable, helpless, and traumatic state is definitely a wonderful and rewarding feeling!” Amy also loves to share her love for the firefighting profession with children. “But most importantly,” she says, “I am living out my childhood dream!”
Twanda Plair has been a police officer with the Flint Police Department for 19 years. Plair says she became interested in my being a police officer as a young girl. Twanda really enjoys working for the Flint police, which she describes as an awesome department! “Working in Flint gives you so much experience, exposure, knowledge, and training which would qualify you to be able to work in any unit on any department,” she says.” I sometimes have tough times, dangerous situations, and tough decisions concerning someone’s life or freedom. But I stayed fully armored, naturally, and spiritually. I stay prayed up and I know I am protected and covered by God’s grace, mercy, and protection.”
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