Kicking off our “Hometown Heroes” series is Meghan Brower, an EMT and active member of the Galway Fire Company for the past 10 years. Despite being injured in a New Year’s Eve house fire in 2008, Meghan worked her way through juggling physical therapy, two jobs and obtaining her paramedics degree.

As part of the “Hometown Heroes” series, Hot 99 has partnered with County Waste and Latham Ford to celebrate local unsung heroes for their good deeds and honorable work.

We asked Meghan a few questions about her work. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: What inspired you to become a firefighter, and then a paramedic?

A: I can’t remember a time where I didn’t love fire trucks, ambulances and going to the ER to visit my mother. My mother has been an RN for 30 years and my step-dad was an EMT-intermediate for 10 years, so there was a constant exposure. I can remember in high school talking to a friend who volunteered for our local EMS agency and her encouraging me to join the fire department.

My mother encouraged me to take my EMT courses, which I did. I quickly began to work EMS and felt at home. I worked two jobs, both of which were high-call volume. This left little time for the fire department, but being young, I lived by one thing: IF NOT ME… THEN WHO? It has been the best decision I have ever made. I love my job.

Q: What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do?

A: When you call for an ambulance, you’re at your worst. If I can make you more comfortable, relieve the stress, make you feel safe, then it makes all the time, money, missed holidays and family parties worth it.

Q: What are some challenges in your job?

A: EMS and fire services come with revolving door challenges, whether they be physical, mental or emotional. I find the hardest part is remembering I have limited control over what happens to people. When I pull up to a motor vehicle accident with a teenager not breathing and no pulse, I know did not do this to them. I have to do my best, follow my protocols and provide the best care I possibly can.

Aside from public education (stop DWI, fire prevention, promote healthy lifestyles and CPR), we can only control so much and do our best. Every call is an experience and we need to learn from it.

Q: Do you consider yourself a “hero?” Why or why not.

A: I don’t believe I’m a hero. I’m simply someone who can handle bad situations and is educated on how to fix them, which I do my best at. I think heroes are people who go out of their own way to help with something they don’t know. I don’t encourage people to run into a burning building untrained and with no fire protection gear, but sometimes you have to do it. There are days where I feel incredible after a good save or having made even the slightest difference in someone’s world.

Know someone you think should be nominated for “Hometown Heroes?” Nominate them here.