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South Bend, Ind. – Two women have been sworn in as the University of Notre Dame Fire Department’s first full-time female firefighters.

The South Bend Tribune reports 42-year-old Michelle Woolverton and 37-year-old Christi Shibata started as firefighters over the summer with the department, which got its start 140 years ago.

The department’s Fire Chief Bruce Harrison said they have passion for the job, empathy and a determination to serve others.

Woolverton joined the department in 2010 as an on-call EMT. She later worked for the university’s Building Services department and says: “I just love helping people.”

Shibata joined the department as a part-time firefighter in 2018 after previously working at a physical therapy clinic in Petoskey, Michigan. She says she “always wanted to be the one who can lend a helping hand.”

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