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75-year-old woman is oldest fire recruit in CAL FIRE program

“I’m still pretty badass at 75, but I wish I had done it sooner,” Mary Jarschke said as she prepares to graduate as a volunteer firefighter

By Bill Carey

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. — The CAL FIRE Butte County volunteer firefighter program is preparing to graduate 19 new firefighters, and among them is a 75-year-old retired nurse.

Mary Jarschke joined the program to continue to give back to the community, KHSL reported.

“We do a lot of medical calls, the volunteers do, and so I decided that is something that I can do,” Jarschke said. “I am clearly not going to be the one dragging somebody out of a burning building most likely, but I wanted to do the full program just to know if I could help somewhere, I can.”

Jarschke is a retired registered nurse and Camp Fire survivor living in Concow, Action News Now reported. She said the program was overwhelming at times but encourages others who are thinking about joining to take the opportunity.

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“Just try! I mean the support has been phenomenal. As I went along I said I don’t know if I was gonna make it through the program because it’s pretty arduous but I’d say I’m just gonna try,” Jarschke said. “So every day I’d show up and say I’m gonna try and at the end of the day I feel pretty proud of myself actually.”

CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Hale said Jarschke will be the oldest volunteer firefighter in the program’s history.

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