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MFRD's First Woman Firefighter Retires

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department's first female firefighter retires after more than three decades.

Mary Madding began her 32-year career with MFRD in July 1982. She retired yesterday.

"It was tough being the only female in a traditionally all-male career," says Madding. "I found it hard to fit in and always felt like I had to work harder to prove myself."

She recalls her worst day at the fire department being an overwhelming first day.

"I got sent to the engine and told to pick off tools, says Madding. They said not to come back until I got them. I went to the engine and I didn't know one tool from the other."
 
The day Kaye Jernigan was promoted to Assistant Chief was her best, she says.

"Maybe, I should say it was my proudest day," says Madding. "It was awesome to see a fellow female rise through the ranks in the department."

Madding remembers when engine companies were only allowed to leave the station to respond to a fire, which is much different now, she says.

Madding plans to spend her retirement getting much deserved rest and with her grandkids.

Chief Cumbey Gaines says Madding will be missed.

"The foundation she laid for female firefighters in this community is solid," Gaines says.


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