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A Firefighter in the Making

By Ty Walker

A Firefighter in the Making

Vivianna Perez-Wolfe of Sandy will graduate this March with her firefighting degree from Chemeketa Community College. It was almost a year ago that she joined the Hoodland Fire District volunteer firefighter program that helped her make this possible.

Volunteer firefighters are an integral part of the district, working side-by-side with career staff on real life-or-death emergency calls. Perez, who has already earned her emergency medical technician degree, plans to go to paramedics school next.

It wasn’t that long ago, growing up in the St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland, that Perez wanted to pursue a career in nursing. But shortly after graduating from Roosevelt High School in 2019, she attended a firefighting camp for women hosted by the Tualatin Valley Fire Department. Learning about firefighting opened her eyes to another career possibility.

“Growing up, I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse and I didn’t know anything about firefighting until I graduated high school,” Perez said. “Tualatin Valley Fire Department has a women’s fire camp and I did that as soon as I graduated high school.

“I realized that I really enjoyed firefighting. It was a career that I saw myself excelling in and one that would push me. I ended up going to college for firefighting because of that camp. It wasn’t my plan at first.”
As a Hoodland volunteer, Perez pulls one shift a week for 8 to 12 hours. She said she likes helping keep people calm at the scene of emergencies.

“My favorite part about being a firefighter is being able to help people in a moment of chaos and being able to be that calm for them,” Perez said.

She also enjoys working with the unique individuals on the Hoodland District staff. She has learned a lot from the on-the-job volunteer training program.

“The people that I work with at Hoodland are all super unique and you have really funny people that are uplifting,” Perez said. “They teach me a lot. The most special thing about Hoodland is all the unique personalities that are there.”

Perez is grateful for all the support her partner and family have shown as she embarks on her journey to become a firefighter.

“My family, my parents and grandparents, and my sister are all super supportive and they’ve all been there for me throughout this journey,” Perez said. “I’m very thankful for them.”

In her spare time, she likes hanging out with friends and family, looking for new places to go hiking, or going on road trips.

“A big hobby of mine is baking, being creative in that way,” Perez said. “My favorite thing to bake is brownies.”
Hoodland Fire District is always looking for volunteer firefighters. No experience is necessary because Hoodland Fire will teach you all of the skills you need to provide high quality emergency medical care and fire suppression to the residents and visitors of the local communities.

One of only four women volunteer firefighters at Hoodland, Perez said she would like to see more join her at the district.

“I would love to see more women working at Hoodland,” she said. “That would be amazing, more representation.”

For more information about applying to the Hoodland Fire District volunteer firefighting program, phone 503-622-3256 or go online to

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