Tiny but mighty Newsome graduate Kellcee Aurich has completed the Hillsborough County Junior Fire Academy and will be entering the Hillsborough County Fire Academy this year.

While many high school graduates may be struggling with deciding on a future career, Newsome student Kellcee Aurich learned quickly what her calling was. It all began when Aurich was going through a difficult time during her sophomore year in high school and the Newsome High School resource officer reached out to her about a program that he thought would be beneficial.

“He knew that I was interested in the medical field,” said Aurich. “So, the program he referred me to was the Hillsborough County Junior Fire Academy.”

During the training that summer, Aurich realized that she especially liked the paramedic program and she knew then what her calling was. Her training will continue this August at HCC, where she will study for her Emergency Medical Services Technician certification.

Then, in the spring, she will enter the Hillsborough County Fire Academy. Upon completion, she will go back into school to be certified as a paramedic. Within two years, Aurich hopes to be actively serving her community.

“There were many moments that I would struggle with whether I could do this or not, said Aurich. “I’m not a tall or big person and being dressed in 100 lbs. of gear is a lot because it’s almost what I weigh. The first day I put on just the boots and tried to walk was pretty funny. I relied on my faith in God at different times. One of those times I was rappelling off the burn building, I kept telling myself that ‘I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.’”

What excites Aurich the most about her future is knowing that she will be helping people in crisis on a daily basis.

Her family is extremely supportive of her career decision.

“We have started calling her ‘tiny but mighty,’” said her mother, Becca. “My grandfather was a firefighter with the City of Clearwater Fire Department and no one else in the family had ever followed in his ‘boots.’ It will not be easy, but she is up for the challenge. She’s survived a lot in her 17 years and we believe all that has ultimately prepared her for this.”

Aurich has some advice for other students who may be interested in pursuing a similar path.

“If this is your chosen field, you will need to maintain great physical, emotional and mental conditioning all the time, not just on the job,” said Aurich. “Always keep your goals in front of you.”

For more information about Hillsborough Community College Junior Fire Academy, visit www.hccfl.edu.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.