Rhoda Mae Kerr has been the first for many things, but one that stands out for her is becoming Austin first woman fire chief.
Another important first? Kerr is the first woman to lead the International Association of Fire Chiefs in the 140 plus years of its history. Now Kerr is leaving Texas behind after nine years in Austin and she’s excited for the next stage in her life.
Kerr says one of her favorite responsibilities is visiting classrooms and talking to children.
“I try to make sure that they understand that there was a time where they didn’t want girls in the fire service. They didn’t want us and they tried to find ways to keep us out. Not only to speak to the little girls, but to speak to the boys, as well. I think it’s so important that they see that – and then, that becomes the norm for them,” she says. “And I hope for a day when the president, the first vice president, and the second vice president are all women. And it won’t mean anything, it will just be the norm.”
Written by Angela Bonilla