Nikki Ose, a St. Michael mother of two and a child care provider by day, has added a surprising twist to her resume—becoming the first female firefighter in the Albertville Fire Department in over a decade.
Albertville Fire Chief Eric Bullen said that Ose brings to the department the same level of skill and training as her male counterparts. “We need people that are well-trained and willing to serve their community. She will provide both of those.”
Ose, whose own mother was a nurse, began to feel a calling to community service when her mother passed away in 2007. “I made a promise to her and to myself that I would live a healthier lifestyle and work hard to make a positive impact on others as she did.”
Over the years, Ose has built up her strength and endurance both in the gym and by participating in short-course triathlons and mud runs. She knew there had to be a purpose to all her hard work.
Then, last summer, a friend encouraged her to attend the Women’s Fire Services Expo in Elk River. “I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed each training session. I went home and called my friend … and told him, ‘I think becoming a firefighter is something I want to do. It’s what I’ve been looking for!’”
Ose was sworn in as an official volunteer firefighter in December, after which she underwent six months of intense training in the Fire Academy. “It was an adjustment to leave my family so many nights a week, but as the other recruits and I traveled from different fire departments in Wright County for class, we grew to be close friends.”
And on June 23, exactly one year after attending the women’s firefighter expo, Ose graduated from the Fire Academy alongside fellow Albertville firefighters Jared Grove and Charles Holzerland.
“This group of guys on the department are the nicest group of men you’ll ever meet,” said Ose. “They’ve accepted me with open arms and made me feel like ‘one of the guys.’ I feel like I’ve gained 29 older and younger brothers to joke with, lean on for support, and protect me.”
When asked what she expects to bring to the department as the first female in nearly 12 years, she joked, “I’m positive the first thing I brought to the department was the first pair of extra small suspenders!”
Ose hopes that her positive and upbeat personality will rub off on her fellow firefighters and on the community. “I wanted to become a firefighter so that I could make a difference in myself and make a positive impact on our community.”
“As a female,” explained Chief Bullen, “I think she will be a great addition to our public safety education and community outreach events, hopefully someone that young girls can look to as a role model and maybe interest them in the fire service.”
“Joining the Albertville fire department has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” said Ose. “My hope is to motivate other women and men to try out for our department, too!”