‘We have a very special bond’: Mom and daughter volunteer together at local fire company


A passion for firefighting ignited for one mother-daughter duo.

Melissa Washburn and her daughter Brooke work side by side at the Good Hope Station, Hampden Township Volunteer Fire Company.

This Mother’s Day, the two reflected on their journey together.

They said it’s easier to be ready for whatever comes their way because they know they have each other to rely on and learn from.

“My mom is an inspiration. She’s motivational, and truly one of a kind,” said Brooke.

It certainly isn’t every day that we get to work alongside our moms.

And for Melissa, working with her daughter was a special opportunity she never saw coming, especially after starting out as a preschool teacher.

“I just knew that there was a need and thought, well, I’ll do what i can,” said she said.

It was back in 2019 when Brooke and her mom heard about the company’s Citizens’ Fire Academy.

All it took was one class for the duo to find their spark, they said.

“We came home that night dumping sweat out of our boots and thinking, ‘oh my goodness, what are we doing?’” said Melissa. “To experience it and realize how heavy the gear is and what they do on an every day basis was just so eye-opening.”

Brooke had also been working toward becoming a fire police volunteer, a role that helps direct traffic and crowds often at a fire scene. But it was when her mom began training to become a firefighter that Brooke decided to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

“We fully motivate each other. It’s every training day – every call,” said Brooke. “We have a very special bond.”

Melissa became a certified firefighter two years ago, but just last month, after balancing a full-time job and college classes, Brooke completed the required classes and became a certified firefighter as well.

“Women can do this, mothers and daughters can do this. No matter your age, no matter your gender, no matter where you come from, what your background is,” the 23-year-old said.

Over the course of the past four and a half years with the volunteer fire service, the Washburns say they have learned so much about the job – and even more about each other.

“It can be a little daunting sometimes to go on calls because we both have a fear of making a mistake,” said Melissa.

“It’s nice to know that she understands the fear that I have or that what I’m going through in the moment, she’s also going through,” said Brooke.

The life lessons we learn from mom are often the ones we never forget.

“Anything can change in the drop of the hat and I think probably no one sees that more than firefighters and police and people in this kind of field,” the mom said. “So, take the time to let somebody know you love them. Let somebody know you’re there. Give them a hug. Shoot them a text. Just let people know.”

Brooke and Melissa say they are no heroes – just a mother and daughter doing something they’re passionate about