When Sherrie Wilson graduated from Duncanville High School in 1976, there were no female firefighters at the Dallas Fire Department.
“It was an impossible situation in the 70s for a woman to be a firefighter-paramedic,” Wilson said.
That didn’t stop Wilson. She started her career working for a private ambulance company – doing the worst of jobs – picking up bodies. She remembers the day she knocked on the door at the Dallas Fire Department’s application office.
“The lady answered and said, ‘Oh, honey. We’ve had 60 women try and they all failed.’ My response? I’m a Duncanville Pantherette and I can do anything,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she developed that kind of confidence under the leadership of legendary Duncanville girls basketball coach, Sandra Meadows.
“She spoke to me,” Wilson said. “She said, ‘You are a champion, Miss Clark,’ over and over. She mentored me and kept speaking that into me to the point that I actually believed that I could do anything.”
Wilson traces the beginnings of her success to her years at Duncanville High School.
“One of the greatest things to ever happen to me to was to come to Duncanville,” Wilson said.
Wilson not only became a Dallas Firefighter-paramedic. She was the first woman to make the department in emergency operations, and she retired from there with a full pension following a 35-year career.
Wilson now runs her own business, providing leadership speaking and consulting services on emergency management. She recently authored a book titled, “Faith on Fire.” The book chronicles the hardships she faced as a woman in a ‘man’s job’ and how she overcame those hurdles by relying on her faith and those lessons instilled by Sandra Meadows.
“Words are powerful,” Wilson said. “You can speak into the lives of others. You can show people love.”