“What do you want to be when you grow up?” How many times have you heard a little boy answer, “A firefighter!” Well, 2017 Nyack College alumna Emily Sigmon may not have made that declaration when she was a little girl, but today she’s the only active female member of Nyack Fire Department’s—Jackson Fire Engine #3.
Nyack 2011 alumnus Jamel Wright, (pictured above with Emily), made her aware of the firefighting opportunity where he also volunteers. Emily says, “The men who work at the firehouse I am a part of as well as the surrounding companies in Nyack have been incredibly supportive of my process in becoming a firefighter. I was pleasantly surprised by the respect and welcome I received knowing that I was entering a realm that is primarily male.” She adds, “I would like to thank the women who blazed the trail before me. Even though I have not met them or have not had the opportunity to serve alongside them, these women made a great impact on me.”
Why would the pastoral ministry major choose firefighting? Probably something that may have crossed her family’s mind as well. In fact, her mom commented, “Great. Now you’ve given me something else to worry about with you!” To which Emily, responded, “When have you ever known me to be any different? My whole life I have gone after the adventurous challenges.”
Emily has a list of reasons for her interest in firefighting. Every reason would make her an asset to any work environment. She explains she wanted to get involved in the community outside of a Christian context since holds two part-time jobs—as administrative assistant to Nyack Rockland’s Dean of Students and at Risen King Alliance Church as the Volunteer Coordinator. She loves to help and serve others. She mentions, “There’s something about staying physically fit for a reason greater than myself that has always been important to me.” She also loves to challenge herself and learn new things. Perhaps her most definitive answer is this: “I am a firm believer in being a student of life, and I tend to lean towards the adventurous side of challenges.”
Based on her degree major, the Ohio native may have envisioned putting out “fires” (or “stirring them up”) in people’s lives and Emily hasn’t abandoned that pursuit. She’s currently enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at Alliance Theological Seminary. She has also earned provisional licensing as an official Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) worker, which positions her for CWM, (Consecrated Woman in Ministry), status with the C&MA.
As an “exterior firefighter” with the Nyack Fire Department, Emily explains, “I am only allowed to do things outside of the buildings right now until I complete a training course to prepare me for the elements I will face inside a building.” She started that training, which meets three nights weekly and some weekends until the middle of September 2018. After completing the required 230 hours and passing the exam, she will be certified through New York State to fully respond to both exterior and interiors calls.
As she waits for an opportunity to extinguish flames or function as a first responder, Emily won’t be twiddling her thumbs. Her summer “to do list” includes horseback riding on the beach in Florida, traveling to Alaska, skydiving with friends, and continuing her epic summer cooking challenge. She taking full advantage of Nyack’s incredibly diverse community of friends and invited them to teach her how to cook their favorite meals. Follow her on Instagram #summercookingchallenge” to see who’s joined her in the kitchen.
So could Emily Sigmon possibly squeeze any other pleasures into her summer? “I’m working my way through a stack of 30 books that I hope to complete before classes begin in the fall.”