I met Rhonda like I met 100% of the other members of the Sisterhood, online.  Then I met her in person in Atlanta, Ga during Firefighter Wife’s 1st Annual Flame Fest.  I love Rhonda, she’s a down to Earth county girl with a little glitz when needed.  Huge heart for her family, fire family and all of her fire sisters.  I get to see her in a few weeks, along with several other of our Sisterhood members, I can’t wait! <3 Jessie  

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Tell us a little bit about you/your family.

My firefighter works for Clay County Fire Rescue where he is an Engineer on Engine 13. He’s been with his department for the past 10 years. I work at an elementary school as an ESE paraprofessional. I love having a part in educating children and being an influence in their lives. We live on the outskirts of Jacksonville, FL. We will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary this year, but have been together for 21 years. We have two sons, Jaden and Lane,  and several fur babies, which include 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a horse. We’re a very tight family and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

How did you two meet?

We met at a cookout. We talked that night and then he came over to my house the next night. During his visit that night, he mentioned taking me to an event in Daytona which was 3 weeks away. I made the comment that we’d have to wait and see, what if we weren’t talking then – he informed me in a very confident tone, “Oh, we will be.” He made several comments that night pertaining to our future, he says he knew we’d be together. I guess he was right – here we are, 21 years later!

Was he a fireman when you met or did that come after?

He became a fireman 9 yrs after we met; he worked for UPS before that.

Do you remember your initial thoughts about him being in the fire service?

You know how “tough” men try to act on the outside, well, I knew deep down under that toughness was the biggest heart ever (he truly cares for people, even the ones he doesn’t admit to caring for, which makes him perfect for the job), so when I was asking him different questions about things we knew he’d encounter on the job, I asked “What about the people that might not make it, especially if it’s a child?” To which his reply was,

“What about the ones I help save?”

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Have those thoughts changed? If so, how?

Unfortunately, he has had to deal with some real tragedies (some involving children) that truly did have an effect on him, but thankfully he has found the right way to deal with those types of situations, which puts my mind at ease for him.

Has he ever had any close calls?

Once, early in his career, they were at a structure fire and a beam fell from the roof and knocked him down. Thankfully, another firefighter was there to help him, or else it could’ve had a different ending…

What helps you keep worrying at bay? What do you do when you are worrying?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about him on the job, but I try not to let doubt or fear take over my mind. I know he is well trained and so are his brothers on shift with him. I have to believe when he puts that uniform on and goes to work, he will be protected and will perform his duties to the best of his abilities so at the end of the shift he comes back home to me.

Several of our wives in the Sisterhood love being able to hog the bed at least every third day. Do you enjoy being able to have the bed to yourself?

I’m used to being alone every third day, but I don’t ever want the bed to myself, I always want him in it with me! I miss him every night that I crawl into bed without him!

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What is the #1 quality you think a woman has to have (or grow to have) to be a firefighter’s wife?

I believe a woman has to be strong and have her own sense of courage to be a fireman’s wife – you have to be able to face difficulties and uncertainties in many areas of our life without letting your fears take over.

Perks of being a firefighter wife?

One perk of being a fireman’s wife is the recognition of his profession, which can lead to some really cool things sometimes, such as great conversations with people or good discounts at places!

How do you think you would feel if any of your children followed in his footsteps?

I’ve actually had to face this – our oldest son started saying he wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He completed EMT school, but has yet to start the fire side!

Do you have any rituals about saying goodbye when he leaves for shift or if when you end a phone call when he is on shift?

We always kiss and say I love you before he leaves for work! No matter if it’s a shift day or not, we’ve ALWAYS said I love you at the end of our phone calls, that’s a must! I’ve always said if something should happen to either one of us, I want it to be remembered that those were the last words spoken.

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What is the best advice you could offer anyone in a relationship with a fireman?

I would advise anyone in a relationship with a fireman to accept the challenges that come along with the job; appreciate the time you have apart. It’s not always easy, but it makes you appreciate your time together. And remember, when your partner is at work, his body may be absent, but his heart is at home with you.

What does the Sisterhood provide for you and would you recommend it to all fire wives?

Wow, how I could possibly put into words everything the Sisterhood provides for me?!! I have been blessed with the friendships that have developed out of this group. The love and support everyone displays for each other is amazing! I never really thought I could “click” with so many women like I have. I definitely love the fact that this group wants to strengthen and uplift their marriages instead of bashing their husbands and complain about everything. We’re all in it to win, and I love that! I highly recommend it to any fire wife that is passionate about their marriage and wants it to succeed, especially through the crazy and trying times of the fire life!

We know what your firefighter’s passion is, but what sets YOUR heart on fire?

I have a passion for serving others. I love to help those who are in need or less fortunate, or anyone simply needing a helping hand. I like to know I can help put a smile on someone’s face or a little bit of love in their heart!

Is the fire family a close knit one in his department?

I wouldn’t say his department as a whole is close knit, but his shift partners at his station are definitely close like family. These guys work great together and love each other and each other’s families. Perfect example – In December my ff had to leave work one evening to take me to the ER, and later that night I was admitted into the hospital. While I was waiting to be taken up to a room, I get a knock on my door in the ER and in walks the guys from his station! They made a run to the hospital to check on me…to be honest, that warmed my heart!

Tough and often touchy topic… Have you had “the talk” with your fireman about his last wishes if he were to ever die in the line of duty?

We’ve never had “the talk” about his last wishes if he were to die in the line of duty, but I know we need to. I tear up just thinking about it.

Did anyone warn you or give you any advice early in your relationship in regards to him being a firefighter?

I never had any forewarnings from anyone about life as a fire wife. I’ve simply lived it and learned it along the way. Although there have been some long and weary days, there have been many rewarding ones as well. He provides a great service to the community and I know he loves his job, therefore I support him, and love our crazy fire life. I’m thankful in every aspect of it.

Thanks for reading as we highlight fire wives of the Fire Wife Sisterhood in the Hot Spot. We feature a new member the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.

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Jessie -

Administrative Assistant at FirefighterWife.com
I'm a work from home, 30 something, small town, Southern Georgia girl. I have two daughters, one in high school and one in primary school. I am the wife, biggest supporter and BFF to my country Firefighter/EMT husband of 8 years. When I'm not juggling life, I like cooking, crafting, gardening and just enjoying life.

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