Local firefighter blazes path to advanced training

by Maddy Holman

Hinckley and Richfield fire departments are celebrating firefighter Daisy Stiegelmeyer after she was awarded the Alex Scripp Memorial Scholarship, which allows her to attend Carolina Fire Days in Charlotte, North Carolina. The scholarship covers full conference passes, lodging and travel fees.

Carolina Fire Days and Charleston Metro F.O.O.L.S. instituted the scholarship in honor of the late Scripp, who was an advocate for the education of the next generation of firefighters. Carolina Fire Days is a four-day educational conference, including two days of lecture with three to four speakers daily. Two days of hands-on training are held at four local training sites. The conference includes both firefighters and their spouses.

Stiegelmeyer is one of only two firefighters chosen nationwide. She was nominated by Hinckley Fire Chief Jestin Grossenbaugh, who notes her dedication to service and interest in furthering her education.

“Daisy is always stepping up to go to classes and wanting to do better. As a newer member in the fire service, I knew that she would stand a good chance for the scholarship,” Grossenbaugh said.

Grossenbaugh hired Stiegelmeyer for the Hinckley Fire Department after an initial meeting in which he noticed her outgoing personality and her desire to do the difficult work required of firefighters.

“I like people whose mindset is not just working for the fire department, or I have a ‘cool’ job,” Grossenbaugh said. “Daisy is someone who is actually very involved and passionate about her job. And these conferences are where you go to be around individuals that have that passion, that want to do the job not for themselves, but for the people that we serve.”

When Stiegelmeyer recalls her journey to firefighting, she credits her upbringing.

“Growing up, I always had an interest in helping people and giving back any way that I could. I was always volunteering for either church programs or after-school programs, as well as volunteering for the Cleveland Metroparks,” Stiegelmeyer says.

She also notes that as one of six children, her family underwent a few minor emergencies in which they enlisted the services of first responders.

“I have always appreciated and respected this job and career,” Stiegelmeyer said. “I always did have a respect and appreciation for our first responders, both police officers and fire. That respect was always a big deal in my family.”

Stiegelmeyer received her associate of applied science degree in fire-emergency medical services from Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).  The program became of interest to Stiegelmeyer after following a completely different career path with the Cleveland Metroparks system.

“After graduating high school, I was going for a completely different career, and midway through pursuing that career, I realized that I never felt fully comfortable or at peace. When I looked into opportunities at Tri-C, as well as knowing my interest in the medical side of things and helping others, it just kind of clicked. I found the EMT and fire program, and I knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of,” Stiegelmeyer says.

Stiegelmeyer currently works part-time for the Hinckley Fire Department and fulltime for Richfield Fire Department.

The Carolina Fire Days conference will serve as both an educational and inspirational experience, bringing in instructors from all around the nation to lead courses.

“I am definitely looking forward to growing in both my skills as a firefighter on and off duty and in my leadership abilities,” Stiegelmeyer said. “I am hoping to learn as much as I can from these instructors because they come from all over. Education is very important to me. We are always learning, and I try to always strive to keep learning and developing discipline in my career.”

Stiegelmeyer also noted that she is honored to represent the late Alex Scripp and to uphold his respect for the career and his value of continuous education. Stiegelmeyer traces her early success in her career to both the Hinckley and Richfield Fire Departments, both of which she says have become like family to her, and to her parents.

“There may be people who deserve the scholarship 10 times more than me,” Stiegelmeyer says, “But I know that I am beyond blessed to get this experience. I am extremely grateful that I was chosen to go on this trip and to represent Alex. It is very humbling, and something that I will never forget.” ∞

Photo: Hinckley Firefighter Daisy Steigelmeyer, seated next to Hinckley Fire Chief Jestin Grossenbaugh, learns she was selected from a large pool of candidates nationwide to earn the 2023 Alex Scripp Memorial Scholarship. Photo submitted.