Featured Female First Responder: CJ Hilliard

"You will make it happen"

Meet CJ, a Firefighter/Medic!

We asked CJ if she would be apart of our "Featured Female First Responder" column where we ask women questions about what it is like being a female working in a males profession and what their advice would be to those who are aspiring to be First Responders.

“I started my career as a Firefighter through the explorer program in high school. After graduating, I decided to go through EMT school so I could be helpful on medical calls. I realized there was still a lot to know, so I went to medic school and started volunteering with a bigger department.
The more I learned, the more I fell in love with the fire service.
Now I’m a career firefighter/medic with my dream department, and I am still learning more and more every day. I work every third day, which is a great schedule for travel because I try to travel as much as possible. Whether it be a road trip and camping in the mountains or flying to hangout/workout with my amazing friends in New York. I love getting to see this amazing world that God has blessed us with.”
“My mom has been my greatest mentor/role model. She is a Colonel for the Army Reserves who started and successfully ran her own business as a dentist. She is smart, strong, kind, and a natural leader. She is everything I strive to be, and I am so proud to be her daughter.”
“I am passionate about being a Firefighter. It is, without a doubt, the best job there is. I’ve had so many amazing experiences and met the most wonderful people because of fire service. It is SO MUCH FUN! From sitting in a burn box and watching fire dance over your head…to cutting a patient out of a car in a rainstorm…to just laughing around the dinner table with my crew. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. There aren’t enough words to express my love and gratitude for the fire service.
It is because of fire service I found fitness. As backwards as it sounds, wanting to work for my department drove me to get in shape. Fitness has become a large part of my life because it has allowed me to do the job that I love. I am fortunate enough to be a part of 555 Fitness…a nonprofit whose mission is to create a resiliency to illnesses and disease we face as First Responders through physical fitness by providing free workouts and giving away grants for fitness equipment!”
“My advice to anyone wanting to be a Firefighter is multifaceted…
  1. Make sure it is what you think it will be. Start by volunteering or do some ride outs and be sure before you commit time and resources to it.
  2. Always listen. Even if someone is telling you something you already know…listen. There might be a speck of gold in what they say. Be gracious they are taking the time to invest in you.
  3. Want it. It might be difficult to get a job, but if you want it bad enough, you will make it happen.”


Learn more about 555 Fitness and their mission at www.555fitness.org.