Geldbach-Hall never intended to be a pioneer, but this “firegal” changed the firefighting world forever.
At the end of a 25-year career in fire and emergency services, Geldbach-Hall retired as a high-ranking battalion chief. But the winding road she took to get to that position was fraught with turmoil, harassment and one major lawsuit that took nearly 12 years of her life. Being a female firefighter was never easy, but because of a desire to make a difference, the author persevered, changing the culture of firefighting along the way. In her memoir, Geldbach-Hall recounts in vivid detail her journey of making it in a man’s world. From not having the privacy of a women’s bathroom to being relentlessly harassed for giving an interview where she addressed her experiences to dealing with insubordinate male firefighters, Geldbach-Hall doesn’t shy away from the troubles she endured. Yet at its best, the work isn’t about Geldbach-Hall’s awful treatment, but how she found peace, hope and, most importantly, herself. She never defines herself as a victim, despite the abuses she endured. She may recount the bad times she suffered, but she doesn’t wallow in them. Her prose moves and inspires, encouraging readers to find their own sources of strength. After a shoulder injury, the narrator realized that she needed to truly deal with her problems and confront all the hurt and anger she had buried, so she turned to therapy. In the end, Geldbach-Hall won her lawsuit and, in the process, paved the way for equal treatment of women firefighters. While it can sometimes read a little like a standard self-help book, the lessons the author shares are invaluable.
A motivational, true story of a female firefighter’s journey to empowerment.