Washington state mother and daughter duo show importance of mentorship in the fire service 

Debbie Powers, a retired Olympia, WA Local 468 fire fighter and EMT, continues to inspire and mentor her daughter, Jenna, showing a mother’s support even beyond active service in firefighting.

May 12 • 2024

Debbie Powers, a seasoned fire fighter with decades of experience under her belt, vividly remembers the moment her daughter, Jenna Norwood, expressed her desire to follow in her mother’s footsteps in her early twenties.   

“That was just the coolest thing ever,” Powers said. 

Women are steadily carving their place in the historically male-dominated fire service, now accounting for about 9 percent of all fire fighters. Even rarer are daughters who pursue the same calling as their mothers. 

For Powers, her daughter’s aspiration represented more than just a dream fulfilled; it symbolized an acknowledgment of the challenges that awaited her in a new career. 

Just being able to go back and bounce stuff off of her, she was so good at helping me keep my head in the game.

jenna norwood, fire fighter, olympia, wa local 468

Witnessing her daughter’s resilience, Powers couldn’t help but see reflections of her own strength and determination cultivated during her 28-year tenure as a fire fighter and EMT with Olympia, WA Local 468.  

Retiring in 2018, she now divides her time between Florida, honing her pickleball skills, and Washington, where she lives close to her daughter and her grandchildren during warmer months. 

Norwood, now a fire fighter and proud member of Local 468 for seven years, transitioned from aspiring to embodying the fire fighter role over time, crediting her mother’s mentorship. 

“Just being able to go back and bounce stuff off of her, she was so good at helping me keep my head in the game,” Norwood said. 

Norwood says she now finds solace that her children view having a fire fighter mother and grandmother as normal. “The best part is that my children see it as just a part of who we are,” she said.