Mich. Woman's Promotion to Captain Is a First

SAGINAW, Mich. -- A local fire department has promoted a woman to the post of captain, a historic first for Mid-Michigan.

WNEM TV5's Craig McMorris caught up with Capt. Ona Hoard right after her promotion.

"I guess it is a momentous occasion, but in firefighting, it's not ever about one person, it's always a team effort," said Hoard.

The 46-year-old firefighter shared the day with family after becoming the first female captain in the 152-year history of the Saginaw Fire Department. She joined the department in 1996. Hoard was a dental office manager before she joined department.

Hoard told TV5’s Craig McMorris it was a tough go at first, but soon she proved she belonged.

"Once the guys could see that, once you proved yourself and they saw you were giving 100 percent, and that you could do the job, they were pretty accepting," said Hoard.

Also on hand for the ceremony was the first woman firefighter hired by the department. Deborah Stephens recruited Hoard and said she is proud of her accomplishment.

"Twenty-one years ago, I was the first female firefighter, so for me this is just great,” said Stephens. “This is a great day for me."

Hoard said she loves being a firefighter, and loves her job. "I can continually learn. Things are changing daily [and] you can learn something every day,” said Hoard. “And the other reason was there's really no glass ceiling, everyone has equal opportunity."

Hoard said she also is proud to be a role model for girls across Mid-Michigan.

"I think that's a good thing. My parents raised me and they both told me you can do anything that you want to do, anything you set your mind too, you can do it and I think I’m a living example of that," said Hoard.

The newly minted captain said her next goal at the fire station is to become a battalion chief.

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