JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Lori Byrd, a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighter, was the winner of "Good Housekeeping" magazine's Hometown Heroes contest. As a result, she was awarded a cover shoot, in which she appears next to WWE superstar John Cena.
Lori Byrd always wanted to be a firefighter, she wanted to help people.
"I just never went into it because it's a male-dominated career and I just didn't think it was something women did," explains Byrd.
Instead, she pursued a career in banking until she had one of those life-changing experiences that put it all into perspective.
A woman had crashed into a retention pond with her kid in the backseat right by the bank she was working at.
"I just assumed that they would swim to the edge, you know, it wasn't that far but they just went under and didn't come back."
It took only seconds until Byrd decided to jump in and try and save them.
"The woman was face down so I immediately grabbed her and took her to the side."
Both survived, leaving Byrd their hero.
"But I think the main thing that changed my mind there was that one of the firefighters that responded there was a woman, and I was just like you know why, why did I ever care about that?"
And after first responders saved her dads life when he suffered a stroke, it was a done deal. At 33, Byrd followed her childhood dream and became a firefighter.
"Life is too short to not do something that you love and really enjoy."
Now Byrd smiles proudly on the cover of Good Housekeeping Magazine as a woman, a first responder, and an idol.
"It's a huge deal. Not only am I representing first responders, but I think just a new class of first responders you know being a woman."
Byrd hopes her story inspires others to follow their dreams, especially if any girls want to become a firefighter.
"I think each of us has it in us to do this job it doesn't matter male for female."
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