MINT HILL, NC – Asha Mullis an outstanding student at Independence High School and a 2020 graduate, tells us about her experience as a junior firefighter at the Mint Hill Fire Department. This young lady who has a purpose is making a commitment to serve in her community and well beyond in the future as she prepares to attend Nursing School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall.
She joined the Mint Hill Fire Department because she wanted another challenging experience and felt compelled to make a difference. Originally, she thought computer science or engineering would be her career and life’s work. However, her own personal experience at the department, convinced Asha that she was destined to go in another direction.
The writer asked Asha some questions so she could tell our readers her story in her own words.
Q1. What interested you to become a Junior Firefighter? How long have you been with the department?
Once I got the hang of high school, I was ready to take on a new challenge; however, I had no idea what that was. I have always been the type that joined academic clubs, but I wanted something more. One day my dad and I were driving home from a football game and we passed a really bad accident just as the Mint Hill Fire Department and medical personnel were pulling up. A few weeks later I put in my application at the department and have been a member ever since. Just over a year and a half now.
Q2. Why did you apply for the North Carolina State Firefighters Association scholarship? Also, how much is the scholarship worth annually toward your education?
When I first started at Mint Hill, one of the senior firefighters told me about the scholarship; however, I was unable to apply at the time because I was still a junior in high school. A year later, and having much more knowledge about the fire service, I decided to give it a shot. Through this scholarship, I will be receiving $2,000 annually.
Q3. What will be your major in college? How did the firefighting and/or EMT training influence your decision making?
Prior to joining the fire department, I always thought I would go into computer science or engineering, as that was what I had been exposed to through the AOE [Academy of Engineering] program at Independence. Once I got involved at Mint Hill Fire Department and started taking fire and EMT classes I grew to understand and appreciate the fire/EMS service more, and on a level, I would not have otherwise experienced. I have gotten to see things that most people cannot comprehend with some of the strongest and most compassionate people I have ever known. These experiences of giving back really shaped my decision to pursue nursing at Chapel Hill.
Q4. Tell us about your career aspirations?
After college, I hope to become an ER nurse with the eventual path to become a flight nurse.
Q5. Do you plan to remain active or involved with the Mint Hill Fire Department? If so, please tell us how and why? Were the Fire Chiefs involved in the application process? How did they influence your decision to apply?
I hope to stay involved with the Mint Hill Fire Department. At the end of the summer, I am taking the state EMT exam and plan to stay at the department as an EMT. This past year and a half I have been a part of a family that only those that are in the fire service can fully experience, this makes my decision to stay with Mint Hill Fire Department while I am at college easy. In regards to the scholarship process, I talked to Chief Phillips and Captain Neu about the details of applying. After getting their approval, Chief Leath had to sign a statement regarding my involvement at the fire department.
Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, and my second family at the Mint Hill Fire Department for their support during this process. They have all shaped me in ways they cannot imagine.