Carole Kroger prefers not to call attention to the fact she is the first female officer in the history of the Amarillo Fire Department, and the second out of five women in total to join the force.
“I’m not a female firefighter,” the 47-year-old declares. “I’m a firefighter that happens to be female.”
Before being promoted to captain at Station 7 in late 2011, Carole spent 17 years as a firefighter, five years as a driver and two years as lieutenant. “I was a late bloomer,” she jokes.
Firefighting runs in Carole’s family. Twenty-six years ago, the single mother switched careers and took the entrance exam with her brother, Steve Detten, also an AFD firefighter. Her brother Michael is a firefighter in Bernalillo County, N.M., her brother-in-law, David Dunn, is a firefighter with the AFD and her husband, Mark, is retired after nearly 22 years with the force.
One of six children, Carole found the brawn and resolve essential for farm life prepared her for the physical demands of a firefighter, the most challenging facet of the job, but also the most appealing, she says, in addition to the camaraderie and helping others.
“We live together for 24 hours at a time, and I know it sounds corny, but we have each other’s lives in our hands,” she conveys. “We have to rely on each other.”
Outside the force, Carole cherishes time spent with her daughter, Chelsea, her 11-month granddaughter, Emerson, and riding her two Harleys with her husband.
My go-to stress reliever is… spending time with my granddaughter. She puts everything into perspective for me.
The greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received is… be considerate and nice to others. You get more with honey than vinegar.
You may be surprised to know that I… am afraid of snakes and don’t like to read. I received an associate’s degree in computer science and still need help from my daughter with computers from time to time.
I’m secretly addicted to the TV series… “Dancing with the Stars.” I get outvoted at the fire station, though.
If I had a time machine I would travel to… I like it right where I am.
I know every word to the song… “The Star Spangled Banner.” I’m a horrible singer, though. I lip sync in the shower I’m so bad.
Right now, I’m listening to… my daughter and granddaughter playing in the living room.
My favorite meal to make from scratch is… spaghetti or chicken and dumplings.
In an alternate life, I would’ve been a… mother of six boys.
The most famous or interesting person I’ve ever met is… retired Fire Lt. Larry Jackson.
If I had an open plane ticket to anywhere, I would go to… Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
One of my favorite childhood toys was… a bicycle. I was a farm kid. What we lacked in toys, we made up for with imagination.
My favorite most-quotable movie is… “The Cowboys” with John Wayne.
My favorite bad-for-me-food is… pizza.
My Facebook friend count is… 434.
My celebrity crush is… Gilles Marini.
by Drew Belle Zerby
After graduating from LSU in 2009, Drew Belle worked as a page designer in north Louisiana until moving to Amarillo and joining AGN Media in late 2010. In her spare time, she loves to read, travel and spout out useless movie trivia.