Meet Danielle. She lives on the “main land” in Manahawkin, NJ. Her fiance, Matthew, runs a boat hauling business full-time and is also a Lieutenant with Surf City Volunteer Fire Company in Long Beach Island, NJ! He would love to go full-time paid in the future. They’ve been a couple for nearly 7 years and are getting married in 4 months and have a 5-ish year old black lab mix named Talon that they adopted 3 years ago. She says Talon is the BEST fire dog! Danielle is the shelter coordinator for a domestic violence program in her county and has been there for 6 years. She just finished her Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is now licensed. Way to go Danielle! I’ve actually met Danielle at the 1st Annual Flame Fest in Atlanta in 2013. Hoping to see her at Flame Fest again this year at the 2nd Annual Flame Fest: Chicago. Here is some more about here, hope you enjoy! ~Jessie
How did you two meet?
The old fashioned way—Match.com! Our first date was at a diner (New Jersey loves diners!). We had apple pie (him) and cheesecake (me). We try to recreate this date each year 🙂
Was he a fireman when you met or did that come after?
After. We started dating in 2007 and moved in together in 2008 (in a winter beach rental in the town where he volunteers). By 2009, the assistant chief convinced him to join up and the rest is history.
Do you remember your initial thoughts about him being in the fire service?
I did not like the department during the first year or so. It was a big adjustment. I resented him being pulled away any time day or night.
Have those thoughts changed? If so, how?
I’ve grown to love the department. Made some close friends that are now family. I still don’t love when he runs while something important is going on, but now I have support. I even have several wives who live really close and are willing to have drinks (tea or otherwise 🙂 ) when I need it during a bad call.
Has he ever had any close calls?
A door slammed shut behind him and his brother (also on the dept) during a primary search. There was a brief time (probably seemed like hours to him) where he had no direct escape route. I’m glad I didn’t hear about that until it was over. The room apparently flashed over as soon as they were out. We ALWAYS chock doors open now.
What helps you keep worrying at bay?
Support from firefighter wives near and far.
What is the #1 quality you think a woman has to have (or grow to have) to be a firefighter’s wife?
Strength. It takes a lot to do this job and a lot for you to support him in it.
Perks of being a firefighter wife?
Seeing him in that bunker gear 😉
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?
I love you. Be safe. Big kiss.
What is the best advice you could offer anyone in a relationship with a fireman?
Be patient. Find something you love doing as much as he loves what he’s doing. Then you have Lots to talk about.
What does the Sisterhood provide for you and would you recommend it to all fire wives?
Support! I can’t say it enough. I found the blog originally wayyyy back in the day because I needed others who understood and wouldn’t criticize me for being worried.
If there was one thing you could change about your firefighter’s department, what would you do?
More involvement with younger members. Cater to the younger families.
We know what your firefighter’s passion is, but what sets YOUR heart on fire?
Helping others in the ways I can thru my job. And dogs. I totally want to adopt another. 🙂
Many of the wives are either also involved with the department or want to be, how about you?
I’m an associate member and have recently been elected to head a committee. I like helping out how I can. And his chief would really like me to do the academy but I’m not sure yet…
There is a large working fire in your firefighter’s jurisdiction, what runs through your mind?
What can I do to get food over there? Let me call up the assistant chief’s wife (love you Tina!) and get cooking!
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?
Vaguely. I need to do more. We went as far as to discuss who would tell me.
Thank you Danielle for sharing with us!
Everyone can join us every 1st and 3rd Monday of each month to see a new member of the Fire Wife Sisterhood in the Hot Spot! If you have any questions you’d like us to ask in the future, comment below! To find out more about the Fire Wife Sisterhood and how to join, click HERE!