Local firefighter Anne Willett made history by becoming the first female captain to ever serve in the Georgetown Fire Department. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to approach her job any differently, as she still places public service and teamwork as top priorities.
A member of the Georgetown Fire Department since 2005, Willett found career inspiration early in life from the Hospice workers who cared for her father before his death when she was 23. Willett’s parents instilled in her the values of hard work and public service.
Willett, who is originally from Chicago but has also ventured out west, said she has always enjoyed physical labor and being outdoors. She began her career in wildland firefighting, before transitioning to structure fires after moving to Georgetown.
“I like the service aspect of the job, and I like the camaraderie,” Willett said. “None of us are individuals in this department, from the chief on down. We’re all a team. We have to work together, so I like being part of that team atmosphere.”
Willett said she also appreciates the physical-challenge aspect of the job, and added she could see herself as an emergency room nurse if she weren’t in her current career. She said she’s not the type of person to work within the confinements of a cubicle all day long.
Willett said she never set out to become the first woman fire captain in Georgetown’s history, but acknowledges that she could serve as an inspiration for other women who are considering joining the otherwise male-dominated profession.
“To be honest, I don’t really even think about it,” Willett said. “There have been so many great captains that I’ve worked for that have gone before me, and I know that they’ll be a bunch of great captains after me, so I try not to look at myself as somebody that stands different from everybody else, because the job itself doesn’t care whether you’re a male or a female.”
Georgetown Fire Chief John Ward said the department was not necessarily trying to break any records, but Willett’s job performance made her an exceptional candidate for promotion.
“She obtained a position that she deserved,” Ward said. “She went through the process, finished at the top, and she’s done what she’s needed to do to get this position … having said that, it is a big accomplishment as well, in that she will be remembered as the first female captain.”
Ward said Willett exemplifies all the qualities one would hope for in a high-ranking firefighter.
“She handles herself well,” Ward said. “She makes very good decisions, and she’s a great leader.”
There will be an official pinning ceremony for Willett during the Georgetown City Council meeting on Monday.