The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and Columbia Southern University are pleased to award NVFC members Maggie Zimmerman of Breckenridge, Michigan, and Randy Cannon Jr. of St. Stephen, South Carolina, as the recipients of its 2020 National Volunteer Fire Council Scholarship.
Zimmerman volunteers with the Breckenridge Wheeler Township Fire Department and is proud to be its first female firefighter.
“In all honesty, we need more role models and leaders for young women to identify with,” said Zimmerman. “I feel if they can see other female firefighters, in their full turnout gear, they can see this profession as an option for them. It makes it more real to them to see the entire thing come to life.”
She wants to use the NVFC scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fire administration with a concentration in fire investigation. Zimmerman, who is an adjunct professor at Delta College in University Center, hopes to use the degree to advance her dream of teaching at the area fire academy and beyond.
“I want to be able to give that back to other firefighters in training. I want to promote leadership, change and inspire others along the way,” explained Zimmerman. “I attended the National Fire Academy in July 2019 and as I sat through the course, I told myself that I could be teaching at this level one day.”
Fellow NVFC member Cannon also hopes to help train others after achieving his bachelor’s degree in fire administration with the scholarship.
“My goal is to be able to help train personnel,” said Cannon, who serves with Alvin Volunteer Fire Department in St. Stephen. “I want to go to the high schools and talk about how being a member of the community is a great reward.”
He added that is also interested in starting an explorers program to guide others into firefighting.
“My entire life has been centered around the fire service. I started taking classes as early as age 13 as an explorer,” he said, adding that his grandparents and parents were members of the fire service. “I guess you could say it was in my blood from birth because at three days old, my mom told me of how she had to drive the engine with me because no one was available in our community to go to a brush fire.”
CSU, a leader in fire education, has teamed with NVFC for several years to offer scholarships to its members. Each scholarship covers up to 60 credit hours towards one online degree program. The scholarship are applied directly to the recipient’s tuition for up to three years or until the completion of the selected online degree program, whichever comes first.
To learn more, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Fire.