Up in Flames - Workplace Solutions

Rockford Fire Deaprtment Failed - Sheena Amble Tells All

February 27, 2020 Abby Bolt / Sheena Amble
Rockford Fire Deaprtment Failed - Sheena Amble Tells All
Up in Flames - Workplace Solutions
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Up in Flames - Workplace Solutions
Rockford Fire Deaprtment Failed - Sheena Amble Tells All
Feb 27, 2020
Abby Bolt / Sheena Amble

Sheena is a warrior. Take a look at the Facebook page she created titled, Facing the Fire: My 46 Page Resignation

"After almost 20 years in the Fire Service I found myself in a place where I had to speak up against the Brotherhood. I’ve dealt with stressful situations my entire career. This was by far the most stressful time and ultimately lead to the most difficult decision I had to make - leaving a career, a profession, that I loved. 

Life has an interesting way of keeping something in your life, until you acknowledge it. I was a woman in a male dominated industry - I was not accepting of this for many years. I didn’t want to separate myself. But as a woman in the fire service you are subjected to a world that, still to this day struggles to include and encourage women....my mission is to bring attention where it is needed. To stand up for those who are stuck because they know standing up will have a negative impact on their career. To stand up for women who just want to come to work, do the job, and be included. 

Essentially I found myself at the messiest fire scene I had ever been at. My initial size up was these guys were jerks. But my full report showed Harassment. Bullying. Retaliation. Discrimination. Alienation. Failed support resources. No accountability. Resignation."
Read more here.

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Sheena is a warrior. Take a look at the Facebook page she created titled, Facing the Fire: My 46 Page Resignation

"After almost 20 years in the Fire Service I found myself in a place where I had to speak up against the Brotherhood. I’ve dealt with stressful situations my entire career. This was by far the most stressful time and ultimately lead to the most difficult decision I had to make - leaving a career, a profession, that I loved. 

Life has an interesting way of keeping something in your life, until you acknowledge it. I was a woman in a male dominated industry - I was not accepting of this for many years. I didn’t want to separate myself. But as a woman in the fire service you are subjected to a world that, still to this day struggles to include and encourage women....my mission is to bring attention where it is needed. To stand up for those who are stuck because they know standing up will have a negative impact on their career. To stand up for women who just want to come to work, do the job, and be included. 

Essentially I found myself at the messiest fire scene I had ever been at. My initial size up was these guys were jerks. But my full report showed Harassment. Bullying. Retaliation. Discrimination. Alienation. Failed support resources. No accountability. Resignation."
Read more here.

Support the Show.

Abby:   0:08
Welcome back to another episode of Up in Flames. I am your host, but more importantly, your advocate Abby Bowl. Now today's episode is brought to us by you because up in flames is powered by its tribe and its listeners. Now check out the show notes because guess what we have merged happening right now. It's her brotherhood. Merge. It's gonna be growing and growing. But if you want to support this, there are some, uh, links on there for patri on merchandise, shirts, sweatshirts, cups and even PayPal. If you just wanna donate and help make this all possible now, today we are talking to Sheena Amble. She's like a total badass. You guys, she's so fun to talk to you. She's a paramedic and former firefighter for the city of Rockford, Illinois. You're gonna find out why she's former, maybe one of the post that I shared recently, where she was finding all those poor knows laid out everywhere. Or maybe it's where, you know, just go ahead and listen because there's so many moments where I was like What the hell? She is a strong gal. She was never afraid to speak up. She had so many successful years, and then she ran into a group of folks that, well, they just didn't have the pride in the department and want Thio, you know, I guess be their best professional shep Selves. And she brought that forward to try to improve it. And the department just they didn't know how to handle it, and they didn't handle it. Right? And she's still in the middle of it with them. But I'm so proud of her for speaking out like that. She has started a page called my 46 page resignation. And you guys gotta follow that because she's doing a bunch of clips on there that just show you some of the pieces that are like, Damn. So without any further ado, please let me introduce you to Miss Sheehan amble. Hello, this is Abby. Yeah, uh, so I'm just gonna roll into it, sister. So tell me, Jimmy, the spiel who you are What's your name? Where you from? What the hell are you doing? Right. Uh,

Sheena:   2:15
okay. So una amble and I was on rocket fire Department, the Rockford tone, and, uh, city in Illinois, and I was there since I got hired on in 2004. It's been a while. Almost 15 years I completed.

Abby:   2:31
Yeah, it's been What?

Sheena:   2:32
Uh, yeah. So long. Story short. I have a fantastic career in the beginning, Um, Love records, fire loved everything. I did look forward to going to work. Um, it was it was a great job. It was my dream job, and I totally stumbled on it. Stumbled into it on accident. And it was simple as a, um I was pulled from college on winter break, and I saw some firefighters working out the Jim and I was like, Wow, that looks way cooler than what I'm going to pull for

Abby:   3:03
E. I want

Sheena:   3:03
to do that. Like I'm gonna I think I'm gonna do this. I'm not gonna go back to college. Like I'm gonna take some time off. I'm gonna track into the

Abby:   3:12

Sheena:   3:12
and that feels like it was like yesterday, right?

Abby:   3:14
We're not saying, though, that, like, firefighters are a bunch of college dropouts or anything.

Sheena:   3:19
No, because my story was scared like that. There was a plan. There was I just didn't know the plan at the time, because I was like, it was a thought It was your thought. And I was like, I'm gonna check into this. I think this is good. Um and so I started doing a little research. Things weren't as easily accessible as they are now. Um, we kind of had to go on your, you know, your home computer and hunting pack your way through to find some things. Um, it was before September 11th also. So a lot of colleges didn't have tons of programs in public safety. I felt my two options were either attack college or going out to Maryland to get a four year degree. Um, and that wasn't that wasn't in the cards. So the tech college, I kind of focused in on that. Made some called the next day. I said, Hey, I think I want to be a firefighter. Um, I'd liketo you know, I'd like to kind of see what it entails. So, um, it was a female that I spoke with their and she said, All right, this is a program. I'll send you some. Impose I would recommend you. Um, if you have a local volunteer department, I jump into that. I'm just to see if you like it we have a summer fire academy that you can take. Um, I would recommend that if you like it. And I was, like, the sound great. I can kind of like a job shadow. I can go and do the job a little bit and see if I like it. Um, Went home. I told my mom I'm not going back to school. I'm gonna take some time off. I'm gonna do a fire. Catch him in the summer. They have a two year program that I can, uh, I can join in on. And, um, I think this is gonna be good. Just trapped me like my 18 year old self, telling my mother. Just trust me. I'm dropping out of

Abby:   4:57
college. I

Sheena:   4:59
have that faith and

Abby:   5:00
my little girl. You didn't say we're going to join a band. At least, you know,

Sheena:   5:06
I don't know if, like, the whole rock star life are running into burning buildings would be more

Abby:   5:10

Sheena:   5:13
right? But I did the fire academy and I didn't look back. I never looked back. It was This was what I want to do. This is fantastic. This is absolutely, um I was blessed with a fantastic volunteer department that I joined that with my hometown. Um, and they were so supportive and so encouraging. And it was It was like it was genuinely another family. It was an extension of a family. Did the two year college associate degree? I got my associates green fire science. That was a fantastic I was able to work full time on go to school so that it works well, so I was excited.

Abby:   5:51
It's a really great path.

Sheena:   5:53
Yeah, um, but I was lucky. I mean, like I said, I was 18 19. And to be able to come into that and be like, Yeah, that's what I'm gonna do for the rest of my life.

Abby:   6:01
You know,

Sheena:   6:02
not a lot of people have that, uh, you know, have that. And so I was thankful. And I was, you know, really grateful for that. But I still have to find a way to get paid for the job. Right. So you have passed all over your pile over, and, um, Rockford was the first place that, um, offered me a position, and I snagged it up. Rockford is a fantastic place to be a firefighter. Um, your call volume of high. You know, there was 11 fire stations there was. It was a good place to be a firefighter, so I was I was really looking forward to it. I'm crime is high there. Um, the diversity among the city

Abby:   6:37
is I have a lot of people like it was a really great place. Crime was high, everything was burning down. It was all. So it's

Sheena:   6:45
gonna be a good place to be a firefighter. Like, there's all these four bars on all the forefront of,

Abby:   6:50
you know,

Sheena:   6:51
I drove down, I drove down and, uh, I was actually working in Cherry Valley, which is a suburb on dhe. Um, I was like, I'm gonna go find their main ST ST just kind of drive around every, you know, that he has a main street. That kind of weather. Main Street was, um was yes. Well, quite eye opening for me. There was a lot of, you know, and then the building. There was a lot of the reinforced bars, and

Abby:   7:12
I remember

Sheena:   7:13
I was on the phone with my mom, and I'm like, Mom, this is gonna be a fantastic

Abby:   7:17
place to be a firefighter, and she's like,

Sheena:   7:18
Oh, my gosh. Roll your window up

Abby:   7:20
and turn around and go the other way.

Sheena:   7:22
And I was like, This is gonna be on, um and so Yeah, Camille say I was very excited and very happy to be there. And that was in 2004 when they when I got the call, did the fire academy. I had, ah, really good career. I had some fantastic crews that I worked with. I learned tons. Um, and it was it was great. I mean, looking back on my career, I'm really grateful for the experience that I had overall. I mean, there was It was crying. It was stressful. It wasn't easy, but it was totally doable. And I really loved I loved serving the community. I love being a part of the community. And it was it was great. Um, until the last five months of my career, and that's kind of one thing changed, and it was supposed to be an exciting time. How it works is, uh, you you get hired on Rockford and you become a firefighter, so they focus your first couple years on firefighting. Basic defendant feels all that stuff, you know, throw you into that. And then within five years, you have to become a paramedic. So all the firefighters there are paramedic. They put you through the training. So I did that. And then you go in, you ride. We do 24 hour shifts. So 12 on the ambulance, 12 on a fire truck, and then we rotate days and nights. And that's kind of how your schedule work. Um, and then your ambulance time is typically, like, minimal, like five years. People you can choose to stay longer. You can, you know, you can put in to get off earlier, but those aren't granted is often. And I had done my, um I did five years and, um, it was my time. I was up on the list, and it was my time to get off the ambulance and put in my letter saying, Yeah, um, looking forward to the next chapter. And that was a transfer out of the ambulance company to justify repression company. And so, um, that was 2019 is when that transfer went into a fact. So January 2019 is when I got my new station with Simon and, um, super exciting time, right? You're done with the ambulance you're hoping to get. It may be a little

Abby:   9:30
more height when you, uh by the way, you are You I You're describing this brilliantly. I love how you're going through the hole because it really helps understand the progression, because all different, all departments are different. But going through that requirement, the medic and the ambience, time and all that. So I really appreciate here explaining all this. Thank you for being so descriptive.

Sheena:   9:51
Yeah, absolutely. I think people, you know, it's a different. It's a different world to people they don't understand. They don't live it. So if you go to work in your firefighter, right, well, there's a lot more to it. Um, So yeah. So that transfer came Like I said, it would be an exciting time. You're done with the ambulance. Uh um and it's, uh, it It's an exciting party. A crew. You can focus. It's easier to promote. It's easier to test that, you know, it's a stepping stone kind of wrapping up your career, kind of finishing on a different level. You're just trying to survive through the ambulance. You're

Abby:   10:26
right. You're doing your

Sheena:   10:28
work you're sleep deprived. You are. You know, you're getting your tail kick. And, um so there's there's light at the end of the tunnel, though, when you get off the ambulance. So I was, um So I was assigned to a station. Ah. Transferred rotational around the side. And, uh, it was just a single engine company. There was, uh, five of us with signs. Um, so this this engine company, two of them it already are. Three of them had already been there. Two of us were new. So, um, but I was exciting. I very excited. I didn't expect what was what was gonna what was gonna happen. And I came into the station, and my first day, you know, just kind of Ah, a little awkwardness. Um, but, you know, I'm an optimistic person, so I was like, Oh, this is just kind of awkward. But first day, one of the firefighters like, oh, why don't you show me how to do it? And I was like, Whoa, what? Like, who does that tone that kind of like? Okay, um, all right, I hear you. I hear what you're saying, but okay, I'll try it. I'm not not my responsibility, but I will. You know, I'm thinking that's in my head, but I'll try it. I'll try. Yeah, absolutely. I'm have to learn someday. Um and so it just little things like that, Right? So just little what I would probably call like personality conflicts. Right. This is the guy who talks about everybody who promptly talk about people behind their back.

Abby:   11:57

Sheena:   11:57
being told you about me behind my back. Like,

Abby:   12:00
now. Let me sunder Going into what is your when you go from the ambulance and get transferred over like that? Like what? Your rank. Your att. The firefighter really

Sheena:   12:08
were a firefighter.

Abby:   12:09
Okay. Okay. My turn

Sheena:   12:11
you go from, we have ah position. We actually got rid of it, but it was the title of second driver. You spend a lot of time drive in on an ambulance company like I drove a lot my last year in the name of somebody cause a seniority thing. Right? So coming in, there's an officer. There is a driver, essentially a second driver, but that's, like unofficial. He just has more seniority then the two people below him, right? And then it just who's ever whoever has more seniority. If the driver's not there, then that person, Dr.

Abby:   12:43
Okay. And then this person that this firefighter, that was like, Why don't you show me how to do that? And what what's his rank? How long's he been around?

Sheena:   12:49
He's He's a firefighter. He had about a year on one year longer than I did.

Abby:   12:55
Okay, You're old. And so you're the new You're the newbie at the station. Basically. So you're

Sheena:   13:01
the new girl there?

Abby:   13:02
I have to put up with the typical. Yes. So, even being the new guy there, you might have to put up with some typical little station hazing. But, yeah, you're the You're the first chick they've had in a while, so it's kind of a different level.

Sheena:   13:15
Yeah. You know, I guess I had my blinders on to that stuff, and it was never an issue. Um, it was never really an issue. So, you know, you go to a new station, everyone kind of feelings other out, but they're respectful. There. Knife right there. Not

Abby:   13:28
on your night. And you've been in the department for almost 15 years. It's not like you just got out of the academy.

Sheena:   13:34
Uh, huh? Right. Exactly the time in the place. And, um and I get it. Um, but that was it was weird. It was different. I wasn't I was kind of, you know, like I said, a kind of that back a bit like from it, like, All right, let's look, we can do this. That's fine. And, um, yeah, so between like, there was three. Firefighters are driver and officer between the three firefighters. I think there may be you know, I ah, you're too in between the fire is, you know, the Romans were over 10 years. Um, so, yeah, so comparable on And, yeah, so

Abby:   14:13
just started. Felt off the first day. And so you're old for

Sheena:   14:17
absolute. The tone was that. And I was like, Okay. All right. Well, you know, you take it off, you depend on whatever. You don't think anything ever you just carry on, and then all this, you know, the conflict. Talking about people constantly. You know, talking about your chief saying is, you know, a moron like, I'm like this guy. Like who does this guy ever go a day without talking about anybody? Like So I did I reach out to my captain at the end of January, I think, Captain, You gotta help me. I said these guys and complaining about one on calls, and it was just next level. I would

Abby:   14:53
like to go over all toxic, It sounds like

Sheena:   14:56
right. All right. Like right. And so I called my cat my cat. But you gotta help me. I don't know how to handle these guys, but this is different. And then I reached out to a couple of friends, and then the kind of consensus was a jerk. They've always been like that. I don't know why they should have been, You know, they never sensation together. Whoever put them together that, you know, And these are the things that I'm being told. I know nothing about them, right? I don't know them. And, um, I'm like what I'm seeing. I know it's wrong, right? We don't behave like that.

Abby:   15:27
Especially with the department in your ethics. And it's just not what you stand for us. You are. You felt all these red flags going up. It just did not hold the values that you've been taught.

Sheena:   15:37
Right? And we worked with jerks like they're jerks. All over. There's girl drifters. Boy. Dirk, There's equal opportunity jerks. I get it. But I had never been in the situation to really feel like Whoa, This is a lot like, um What? So I reached out research a couple people, and that was kind of, um the first happened. We, you know, camp says, You know what? Well, I thought you guys were friends. I wasn't sure. Like the's, Jack, You know, these low blows kind of things. Like, I thought you guys were friends, and I'm like, No, not friends.

Abby:   16:13
Just tolerating.

Sheena:   16:14
Those are my friends.

Abby:   16:16
Okay. Well, it's a class you don't even want to be in. You don't want to be in that club?

Sheena:   16:21
No. And I we That was a big, big food. I didn't want to be that cruel, right? We don't want to be that crew that it's like, Oh, there's drama going on there. What's up? Like I hear there's a lot of, you know, a lot of crazy stuff going on. What's going on that station? You know what's going on there? Um, so we just kind of Ah, well, we were working through it, right? We're just gonna We're just going to he moving forward. And, um, you know, everyone probably like you guys like and I just told to avoid it. I told to avoid it, and I would address my officer, right? That was that was my approach. Everyone, Someone like one time I do it, they had said something to me, and I was like and one of the guys wasn't even there the day before. So I knew that they were talking about I don't remember what it wa So they're talking about something, and one of the guys wasn't even there, and they had made the another dab. And I was like, You weren't even here last night. I was like, you had her jerk like, Why are you talking about everybody behind their back? And, um, it was just one thing after another, right?

Abby:   17:26
And the fact that you spoke up toward I mean, that immediately puts you on the outside of the circle, right? It's like, Oh, right. I'm just gonna call us out, and now, Okay. She's clearly not part of the club. So you're like, probably target number one at that point.

Sheena:   17:37
And I think, like, you know, they tell you this. I feel like they tell you this. If you have brothers or if you're gonna feel like if they sound like a weakness or if they found something, bother do they're gonna poke you harder, right?

Abby:   17:47
Right. Like you feel like the loss around.

Sheena:   17:50
Yeah, and I think maybe that that's where it started. Um, and it was that subtle, like trying to throw me under the bus, Right. So, like, in front of a chief like, Oh, hey, you know, have you seen this like, Oh, it's set on the truck for three days here, won't you? You know, why don't you show me how to load it? Why don't you show me how it you know, when I was like,

Abby:   18:15
It's so hard to describe that stuff to like what you're talking about. I know exactly what you mean, and it's Those are the things that are really hard to put, like to explain to achieve for a captain, like, you know, you feel petty and silly, and unless you're in it living in it's really hard to describe that type of behavior you're talking about,

Sheena:   18:32
right? Well, I feel like a lot of us have heard that tone is the third and tone that people take when they are that person like.

Abby:   18:39
And you

Sheena:   18:39
can tell this isn't an educational opportunity. You're not trying to educate me. You're trying to have a little me and see, you know, see what I know.

Abby:   18:48
And he makes you look like a fool,

Sheena:   18:50
right? If if I didn't know, I never felt like a fool because I

Abby:   18:54

Sheena:   18:54
it. But it was like, you know,

Abby:   18:57
you're constantly having to prove yourself.

Sheena:   19:00
And I was like, we're not far apart on, you know, years on the job and and the station assignments. And so it was, um it was just, you know, I just felt like I just kept shaking my head and I remember coming home from house Like you said, they're jerks. I was like I had This is not fun. It was like, this is

Abby:   19:18

Sheena:   19:19
hard, You know, the complaining I'm going on calls like mocking a patient. There was one. You know me. If I was walking with a patient and I like waves the guy over to come and help me like we're walking over snow banks that come help me. And I was like, why didn't you come help me? He's like I'm not touching that fat slob. Like what, Right? No. What?

Abby:   19:44
Oh, my gosh.

Sheena:   19:45
Well, things kind of this kind of how things unfolded. Far like I heard that I didn't make that up. I heard that. He said that,

Abby:   19:53
and it

Sheena:   19:53
was mind blowing to me. But then you'll hear, like an investigation. How it works is Well, I said it happened. He says it doesn't happen. Were there any witnesses,

Abby:   20:01
right? I

Sheena:   20:02
don't know. These were the people there. I don't know if they heard it or what, but uh Okay, well, then it didn't happen. And it's like, Well, that's I mean, okay, but, I mean, I'm not making this up.

Abby:   20:13
No. And you're right there. That example of either a medic or a firefighter making fun of a patient. You are serving your tax base. You are protecting and serving the public right there like that. It's just absolutely unacceptable, you know? And there may be right. You know, it's one thing to do. You you're there. You needed assistance. He completely shun you. But he also shunned and made fun of and put down the public that they were serving. So there's so many layers there, and there's no reason for you. They

Sheena:   20:41
are attacked like this is what we do. We we wait. We serve the community. These are the people that work here to help. And so what happens in the anticipation? We're, you know, trying to walk a week slipping. We both called out, and that's when I told I told my offer. I said, I can't do this I said, It's one thing to be a jerk. But it's one thing to be a dirt to the point where people are getting hurt.

Abby:   21:00
Yeah, imagine that lawsuit on the flip side, if somebody gets hurt and dies like I'm talking about the patient and then they find out that a firefighter said, I'm not touching that fat slob like right? Oh, my gosh, That's great On your turn. It you are. What you're doing by sticking up is in speaking out about it. Try to get these guys to knock it off is you're protecting the department from themselves, So but that kind little? Yeah, exactly.

Sheena:   21:25
It's, um you know, when I would help it. I'm like these guys were just like jerks ever like that. That's how they are. They're just jerks. Yeah, they've always been jerked. I'm like, why is the final lot

Abby:   21:35
acceptable? You

Sheena:   21:36
know, these people are dirt. First of all, nobody for warned me. Um, and secondly, like through this is this is a lot like I've always, really I mean, my crew I came from like I was with him for five years. We were great, like everybody treated a patient with back like it was, you know, it was really, like, draw dropping for me to see the type of behavior. Um, and you know, so we did. I can't tell my officer, and, you know, it's it's not my job to put you guys in their place.

Abby:   22:08
It's going up. I know

Sheena:   22:10
that. And I you know, I just kept telling my officer, and he would you know, I'll handle it. I'll take care of it. Um, and where it just cut that plating. So things just kept calculating. Right? Um and where are we? So that's probably were still pretty much were through February. And, you know, we only work 10 shifts a month, right? So it's 10 24 hour shifts on ever thrown some vacation time throwing time off. You know, you're eight. You're eight chips with these people. So I'm not a lot of shift in with these guys, right? But I know what they're doing is wrong. I know how they're behaving is wrong. And the bigger issue came. Ah, starting in March is when, um, I walk into work one day, and this was, after all these little low blows of just kind of big dirt. Just being big jerk continues to be a big dirt. You know? I walk into a room, they'll walk out like Okay, fine. Um and then, um I'm I'm I know I'm gonna have to speak up about, you know, pick up harder if you guys don't stop this stuff. So I come into work continuously, came in and tried to have a positive attitude. I was in the process of trying to grow. Um Ah, youth girls. Uh, fire camp. So I had orchestrated organized this camp 2020 17 with my first camp in 2018 was the second camp, and it was so welcomed. And so, um supported. It was a fantastic community. Um uh, community What? I'm gonna call it community of, uh, help me here.

Abby:   23:54
What? Yeah, Wait a minute away for community involvement Involved. Yeah,

Sheena:   23:58
yeah. And for and to encourage young girls to join the fire service. Right, Because there's a need. And I and I saw that on A lot of people around the nation are starting these You throw fire camp like that is fantastic. Like this is absolutely This is great. I want you know, I want to be a part of this. So I put in terms of time, tons of effort to organize it. And every single camper that we have the first year came back the second year.

Abby:   24:25

Sheena:   24:26
to me, it was like, Wow, these pills, they want to know about this. They

Abby:   24:29
want to

Sheena:   24:30
learn about this and there's a need and there's a want and so that would my

Abby:   24:34
you're contributing the passion for it. And that's really great. Like they were lucky. The department was like you to have something that cared about it. That much

Sheena:   24:42
like genuinely like this was Yes, I love it. This was my shining star during, like, these crappy two months, right? I was like, I'm gonna be building this camp. The fire Department had to remove themselves from it because the financial they couldn't it couldn't cost them. They couldn't spend the money on it, right? I said no. I thank them for their, you know, contributions. I think them for their ability to create this, you know, to help or, you know, help fund the camp. And but I knew I had to go elsewhere to look for funding, right? I wasn't getting an answer from the chief Whitecap. Continue trying to reach out to. So finally, I had to just say, you know what, Thank you, but I'm gonna have to move elsewhere. I would send an email after email, and it just wasn't getting back to me. And I have, um I have other people that are in admin. They're like, Why isn't the chief getting back to I don't know, but I have to move on. Like this camp would would start in, like, June or July or August. It be a summer camp, so I'm like, I have to move on. I can't sit around and wait. Um, so basically, politely said, you know. Thank you. I appreciate it. The you know, the community appreciates it. We're going Thio. If you want to continue with this program, I will happily give whoever takes it over all of my info. I'm gonna go and grow. Ah, Northern Illinois girl Fire camp Because there was a need there. The community, the outskirts weren't able to come to the Rockford one. Right?

Abby:   26:10
And they were doing this on your own volunteering accord.

Sheena:   26:13
This? Yeah, There was no extra incentive for this. There's no extra pay. There's no no, this was just this adjustment doesn't like. I saw the need and the desire for people who want to be a part of it. They they awful did. Boys. Ah, you boys fire camp. I give them all my info and they replicated the girl camp. But for younger boys, too, which was fantastic. I am all for introducing young Children in tow into the professional career so they can see what they can be, whether it's women or men or boys and girls. I think seeing that you could be this is important. But I wasn't the one fear had the boys camp, right? Like I'm gonna stand in front of these young girls. They come do this. This is a great job. The great career.

Abby:   26:57

Sheena:   26:58
and we need And we need women in this. So, um, so that was my Chinese starter in the crappy months. Right? I'm holding onto that. I'm still trying to grow this, um, reaching out reaching. I'm not getting much. So then I finally separated myself, um, from from the department, and I said, I'm gonna grow It's the northern Illinois. Still inquired that hate rocket fire. Thank you for what you did, but would you like to be the Northern Illinois girls? Fire can't host location. Because we have, Ah, great training academy. That was fantastic for the camp, so I never got a response. Never got a response. All right, so next comes into play because this was one of the reasons why I ended up leaving, um, and all kind of going that maybe

Abby:   27:41
in the

Sheena:   27:41
hand, Um, but that was my shining shining light through the dark times. Okay, So I come into work one day, and, um, you know, my face is Photoshopped on an image, and I'll let you know I like you better jerk. Like

Abby:   27:55
don't. So they had put your somebody put your face on a picture. Of what?

Sheena:   28:01
My faith on the picture of a dollar bill,

Abby:   28:03
right? Yeah.

Sheena:   28:05
So just being just being jerks and I was like, You know what? I don't know. You guys, this isn't funny. I don't know what this means. I don't know what your intentions are with it, but I know it's not good intentions, right?

Abby:   28:16
Yeah. There's one thing there are screwing around with stuff like that when things were going well and you're grassing with people are getting along with but doing it like that when there's already all that tension, you know, it's not there for good.

Sheena:   28:27
And, you know, it's deliberate. You know that you have all your motive, what they are. I don't know, because I, um I I can't speak for people. So that that was an issue, too. And so that day and the bigger issue was that I took it down. I told that my officer and he just can't get everybody kind of minimize this stuff in the fire station cause you just don't want to be a big thing. Um, and he has said some. You know, man, it's like high school. It's like they like you. And I was like, No, no, no,

Abby:   28:57
no, no, no. And even if it was no God, I hate it when they just demean it that I

Sheena:   29:04
and so, um so? Well, the big thing was, is the next day, so I took it down. I didn't say anything other than my office. I come back the next day and got caught is back up. I got you where they're jerks. Like, stop it. But finally I you know, I texted each shift. I said, Hey, I don't know who's doing this, but tell him it needs to stop. I picked you know, one guy from each ship. You know how them it needs to stop. This isn't cool, Mind you. We back up to that first day when it was up, and, um, we are we're having, right? So we're having Usually we have four people on our trucks. That day we had five. So it was me and these two guys in the back. Okay, so mind you, I tuned them out. Now I just flipped that switch to tune them out, not contribute, not even try engaged. It's just that awkward, uncomfortable, like

Abby:   29:51
you damn

Sheena:   29:51
witch Because I'm in the middle of them and all sudden, can I say swear words on this?

Abby:   29:57
Yeah. I

Sheena:   29:57
mean, that's where work. I mean, it's

Abby:   29:58
okay. Were real. Here. We're talking. Really?

Sheena:   30:03
That center button?

Abby:   30:04
Uh, it was bad enough. I'll go back and fix it, but go for it.

Sheena:   30:08
Right. Um and so we're sitting in the back end and all. Son, I hear one of the guys say, uh, you know someone, So it always always tell me toe suck his dick. So I finally told you know what? I was gonna suck your dick, and I'll suck your dick so good that you want me to do it again. And I

Abby:   30:28
like what? Like

Sheena:   30:29
what I have, Like,

Abby:   30:31
I'm processing

Sheena:   30:32
the right

Abby:   30:32
sort of sitting

Sheena:   30:33
there, and I'm like, and it happened so fast where you're, like, on the other guy times. And he's like, Yeah, like, what if you like sucking dick? Well, you know, so what? And I would like

Abby:   30:46

Sheena:   30:48
right? I was like, Come on, you guys like no, that just that totally just

Abby:   30:53

Sheena:   30:55
And, um I mean, I started shaking, right? I was wrong. I was shaking my hand. I was I was like, Oh, God

Abby:   31:03
shaking intervene matter Like

Sheena:   31:06
I think mad, Scared, worried. I think I did. I knew

Abby:   31:09
that one yet That wasn't a level. Yeah,

Sheena:   31:12
I knew that was next level. And I knew this changes things that changes things a lot, right? Um because that totally

Abby:   31:21
inappropriate, you know, like it's not 19 4020. It's not like we don't train their ass is on this 24 7 like it's those basic screwups like that. There's some stuff where it's like, Oh, sorry, I don't even know that was But no, that's like That's black and white guys

Sheena:   31:37
like, How do you not? Right? That that was what would mind blowing for me is like, How did you ever think that that conversation around me would be OK?

Abby:   31:45
Don't you ever find yourself? You feel like you're in the middle of one of those really lame training scenario videos, you know, and you see this stuff happened and you're like, Oh, that's so dumb. They just do that for the video. It's like, No, it's real

Sheena:   31:58
right like this. They need to make a video out of this so people know that this is inappropriate. You can't do this. Don't do this

Abby:   32:05

Sheena:   32:05
on. Um, so they knew I would bother. They knew I was dressed and like So this comes in and it's like, Oh, boy, all right, And there's a There's a bonus side note to all of this is that one of the guys is related to the fire chief related food. Like

Abby:   32:23
I don't wanna take

Sheena:   32:24
a specific

Abby:   32:25
I because it's a whole other. You know, I thought

Sheena:   32:28
about this and sharing the story like I don't want to ruin my unfortunate The teeth is gonna be talked about because he's the chief of his department, so people will know. But as far as the other two guys like, I don't need a specifically say their

Abby:   32:40
names or

Sheena:   32:41
not. I want that to change live, not ruin line.

Abby:   32:44
It's not about the who, really. It's about right. But

Sheena:   32:46
it's just that nepotism that's in the fire service right there is prevalent, and it's a factor.

Abby:   32:52

Sheena:   32:53
a depth, and now it's a factor in this because it I'm gonna speak up against the chief family.

Abby:   33:00
Ah, I

Sheena:   33:02
am so you know, just keep this weight of Pitkin heavier and heavier. And I'm like, man, this is

Abby:   33:08
but it still makes right right and wrong wrong. And that's the hard part of that A lot of people can't grasp yet.

Sheena:   33:14
And that was my mantra during all this. Like, I had a couple like that. But it's like I can't be wrong doing the right thing. I cannot be wrong doing the right thing. And this is the right thing. I know what they're doing is wrong. So speaking up is the right thing. But it was really hard. Yeah, it was, and I couldn't, but I didn't. I didn't tell my we got off the truck, and this had all happened. Um, and I'm nauseous, right? I'm just not sure I'm like, Wow, why? Like, come on. And I didn't I didn't tell my officer yet because I didn't know how to write because I knew it was wrong. But I was like, Oh, boy. Okay, so, um but then I couldn't sleep, so I was like, I'll call him in the morning when we're all not here because the walls are thin. You can hear conversations like I'm maybe right here isn't the place

Abby:   34:00

Sheena:   34:02
and so I, um But I couldn't sleep. I couldn't. I was just like, Oh, God. You know, Googling, like is having sexual conversations around Is the sexual harassment What just happened? Like it is

Abby:   34:15
a question. Everything and yeah, yes.

Sheena:   34:18
What does the future look like if people have, You know, these conversations after, you know, like you're Googling all this stuff.

Abby:   34:23
Like what looked

Sheena:   34:24
like after that? Yeah, um, so I can't leave, but I wake up in the morning

Abby:   34:29
and sad, though, is every Google enquiry that you made probably had 1000 answers wrapped around it because dumb questions that

Sheena:   34:37
trouble. And I was like, Wow, there's a lot of this in the fire service, right?

Abby:   34:42
Yeah. Sorry. So anyway,

Sheena:   34:43
so that was Yeah. So that was, like, scary. So, um, so I couldn't leave. I won't. You know, I went I walked into my officers room in the in the morning and I was like, this just happened yesterday. He was like, What? It's no joke. No lie. This happened. And he's like, Okay, right. So he's trying to prop within

Abby:   35:04
internally. What? Did you do something

Sheena:   35:07
right? Like now this is next like Yeah. This is not okay. Um, and I remember him saying is like, Well, he's like, Are you ready? Because you're gonna have to have big shoulders for this. And I was like, Ah,

Abby:   35:21
yeah, I know. You have to have the big shoulders. You know? It's right, right?

Sheena:   35:26
Right. I don't want No, I don't want to be in the middle of this. I don't want this to be our station issues like no. And

Abby:   35:34
build the one that needed big shoulders to just go squash it. But it's funny that they immediately go. You know, this is really gonna suck for you. Right? Well, um,

Sheena:   35:43
in my opera, he wanted to educate these guys, right? So he believed in education rather than just discipline. So edgy, you know? And I was like, You're the officer. I'm along for the ride. If you think that's gonna work. Let whatever.

Abby:   35:56

Sheena:   35:57
um, and

Abby:   35:59
it's a lot like you want that,

Sheena:   36:03
right? So where he's gonna we're gonna educate these guys, right? So we're going on, and I have no idea how this is gonna happen. So he goes, You know, next day we'll have a meeting. We're gonna talk about golds and he goes and then I'll send some. You know, we'll talk about craft meant versus station banter and that kind of stuff, right? I was like, Okay, whatever. Like right there? I was like, I don't know if I agree with this, Like, if I was, you know, you always do. If I was lost, or what would I do? I think there's certain times were lines the think hard lines need to be drawn. And when it comes to that stuff that women was lying to be drawn early on and and and hard, right? Like No, this is not okay. Um, but it wasn't and I wonder, and I was I still like What if it had that would've ended differently. Right? Um well, like that, I think I think he had good intentions, but, um, so I think, like, next day or a couple days, we come back, We're gonna have this meeting, right? The station meeting. Now, mind you, only one of the guys that has a conversation was there, and we were talking about, you know, goals and department goals. Individual goals, station goals. Um, kind of Just do it. I don't know minor. This isn't scripted. I have no idea how this is gonna work, right? And we get we catch a run, will go on the run. So I asked the guys I was like, What do you think of it? Like he's like, I don't know. He's like, awesome. We're time of gold. Now we're talking about fluffy stuff, like, I don't know. This is, like, too much like

Abby:   37:42
Fluffy Step for my wayward. Always called it petting the bunny, like, All right, we got the right way. Yeah,

Sheena:   37:50
right. And, uh so then we come back, and so, you know, you could just demanded that he just you know, he's you, uh, What do you want to call Edgy? You know, just that. Yeah, I don't even know, but he's He's just present, right? He make the presence on, um, we get back. And then Cam talking about let's touch out. Harassment and station ban, sir. Right. And so, given example, station banter and harassment. And so it's like, Hey, Oh, well, patient banter happened between when there's no trust and you back to each other. And, you know, you got to come back and, um and so we kind of go into that. And then it's Ah, well, let's talk about harassing What? What? Give me some examples of harassment, he says, and I was like, Oh, it was my time.

Abby:   38:41
Take me. Take me through. This

Sheena:   38:43
is Oh, God. Okay. All right. We're gonna

Abby:   38:45
work. Since he doesn't have to be talking about this today. What a coincidence. Well,

Sheena:   38:50
yeah. So all times I raised my hand, I was like, Well, would this be an example of harassment? And I say, there's two guys in the back of an engine and a female firefighter, and they start having a conversation about sucking dick.

Abby:   39:02

Sheena:   39:03
and this guy demeanor completely changed completely instantly. I'm so sorry. I'm really Oh, man. Like whole boy like, Yes, I know that. I am very sorry. I You

Abby:   39:16
know, guy, What did the guy who said it?

Sheena:   39:19
One of the guys. Yeah. One of the guys that were in the

Abby:   39:21
come on the show tonight. Only

Sheena:   39:22
one of them with their The other one. Wasn't there a meeting?

Abby:   39:26
Which I think it should have been held off till they both Where? That was a huge mistake. Yeah,

Sheena:   39:30
right. Um and so it was horrible. You know, I miss I'm sorry. You know, I haven't worked around a woman in a long time. And I was like, What? I was like, you guys, this stuff needs to stop. We don't want to be no one at this station or that station like. And I don't want you to have to go home and tell your wife you talk like

Abby:   39:48
when it can't be just because there's a woman around. Like how about you just clean your act up anyway,

Sheena:   39:54
You don't talk about that stuff like I don't care what context it was. What? You just don't talk about that stuff. We're professionals, like, Come on. Um and so we kind of left it that and we closed out that meeting or whatever, and and the contestable apace. Don't tell the other guy. We're

Abby:   40:16
gonna have a separate

Sheena:   40:17
meeting the next day with him, right? Yes. You giggle because you know exactly

Abby:   40:21
Yeah, they screwed me. Oh,

Sheena:   40:25
their captain. And it's incent, like in my new my driver during all this is very supportive. I'm very encouraging and sees all this wrong. And, um, you know, he spoke up well, He spoke up You know, there's guys that that sit back and watch. And then there's the guys that say, you guys, this is wrong. Like, don't do this. Um, and so we're, um We're closed out. We moved on. We're next day. Next day, we're gonna meet with the other guy, right? Well, then the next day, I get shipped out. Me and the driver, we both get shipped out. So when we get shipped out, sometimes you have to go to different stations. Okay. So different stations to do it. A different assignment. Maybe somebody called in sick. Maybe

Abby:   41:12
that Quentin, answer. This is like village. It just happened. Well,

Sheena:   41:17
right. So my, um my what? I want to call it. Maybe my My optimism was like, No, this is just once. Okay? Maybe somebody else. Somebody sick. Okay, but him and I were both got shipped out, so Okay, next day. So this means that meeting is just linger. This is just lingering right now. Right? So you know, the complication happened, we're not able to address it, and I'm It's frustrating because I want this done. I want I want these lines drawn. I wanna move. I want to pass it. I don't want to deal with this anymore. This is stressful, right? Um so then the next day, um, on shipped out. And the drivers, He's sick that day, so he's not at the station as well right now, we're on day two, and then we go into day three. Right? So this is now 369 days later, me and the driver shipped out again. And finally we call our officer, and it's me and my driver, and he's like, this is totally retaliation. And he

Abby:   42:18
used that thing.

Sheena:   42:18
We're now, like you

Abby:   42:20
said, a big words like system.

Sheena:   42:21
That's a big, scary word, like,

Abby:   42:23

Sheena:   42:23
know, Ah e I don't know. Because I know that that again,

Abby:   42:32
like, shuts everything down. There's people calling attorneys. There's like, Yeah, dude, you did it. Yeah,

Sheena:   42:37
right. And then And that's what um and that's what our captains and he goes, Well, if if you think that the warning that take this

Abby:   42:46
Oh, now, now we'll take it seriously. Yeah. Okay. So

Sheena:   42:49
I was like, Oh, boy. Okay, so and I was the whole time. I'm like, Have you talked with him? Have you talked with him? Have you talked with him and no, no. And I finally said, Just talk with him. Just talk with him. You do your officer type things, and then once it's done, let me know. Because then him and I can have a conversation because I want to move past it. We gotta both have productive career, right? So I wanna move.

Abby:   43:10
You sound like the little kid trying to get the parent to parent. It's like, Come on, Dad. I just Can you You know, Dad, just do this, okay?

Sheena:   43:17
Tell Dani that thought

Abby:   43:18
right, Okay.

Sheena:   43:18
Stop poking me

Abby:   43:19
so he can.

Sheena:   43:20
It's really frustrating, but that's kind of what the officers are, right? You're here. The parents?

Abby:   43:25
Yeah. You clean your

Sheena:   43:26
house safe, you gotta protect your people.

Abby:   43:28
We'll see. Invented dynamics like this. I can see this. Dynex. You got these. This group, these guys and the chief is even There's such a crazy dynamic toward their uncomfortable even approaching it. They know they're gonna be even a bigger target, just like you were. I mean, it's There's a very sick cycle that goes on that it's hard to put your finger on. And even people that are at the officer level. They won't handle the situation because of exactly what these guys were doing. And they're they're not gonna admit it, but it's all part of the It's all part of that ripple effect.

Sheena:   44:00
Yep. Absolutely. Um And, uh, so, yeah, it's very mind going to make you just continuously shake your head because it's like a little boy. Here we go. Okay. And so finally, a retail to him. My officer and I said, Hey, just talk with some case I need to shut down. I'm worried about this every night. I'm not I'm not sleeping. This is just I want this done. And so he does. Okay. I talked with him on the line. I tax guy. And I said, Hey, you know, Camp said he talked with you. You know, I'd like to talk about this so we can move past it, so Okay, sure. Call me. So we talk. He was not happy. Not happy. Very, very angry. Very aggressive. Very much. Um, defensive. Right. So admitted different. Continuously trying to throw me under the bus. Admitted to trying to, you know, make me feel uncomfortable. Admitted to having a conversation. Um, but no no biggest use. Basically, he said, you know, we left it as no. He said, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. And it was kind of so it was You know what it was. You know, I didn't know that that would offend you. Um, you know, I was like What? Like? Okay, well, let me. So it offends me. I don't want that type of conversations happening around me. I don't know what tell you that. Okay, um and so we lucked it. We left at that. I could tell he was very upset. Um, and, um, feel kind of unapproachable, right? So he's back, I where it's like, you're not I'm not gonna come to him with anything. And so, uh, we're both of us had been leaving on spring break spring break that around that time so we'd gone. So luckily, we got this done before spring break. I just wanted to go enjoy some time with my family and then come back to work. New beginnings. It's all done. Yea done right. Once you speak up, it's good. Everything is gonna be better now. Everybody

Abby:   46:02
knows the boundaries

Sheena:   46:03
that Reno's got to do that It's good right again. Maybe I'm not even. Maybe I could try to see the good in everything. And, Lord, that really,

Abby:   46:14
because I listen to the training, all that, like, the booklets are there like, you do this and then you do that and then everything's fine. It's like, No, it's not. And you're supposed to trust you. So you guys, it's one thing like working in an office environment, like, let's say you work in some financial company. Okay, so so and so a couple cubicles down pissed you off. You guys hate each other. Whatever. It's all paid Borg, right? But in this situation, you can't. You can't trust the part. You can even talk to him. How you supposed to trust him out there in the ice again, you know? So it's the dynamics, and the danger in it are much higher than a regular corporate situation,

Sheena:   46:49
right? It's not like we're just gonna go back to our cubicles, you know, keep complete your Simon like you

Abby:   46:53
have to

Sheena:   46:54
trust the person, right? And I already didn't trust them because But I didn't question like I didn't trust him. I didn't think you were the lawyer person. He wasn't my friend, but I would the first month of Like, he would still help me if I needed help right before this. That was before the conversation, right? And so, um, moving forward, We had just said, You know, if we have a direct issue, we'll bring it up to each other directly. Um, okay. Here. Like, All right, let's move on. Right. Um, but he had said an example. You said like, this was the Pettiness that, um So we cook in the firehouse, right? So ever. You kind of rotate cooks and such. And, um, he's like, Well, you know, there was one time where I felt you should offer to be shipped out, and I was like, What? What? Do you talk? Like what he's like? Well, Philip, l was gonna talk to me to cook that day, and they shipped him out. Said I was like, It's not my job to volunteer to be shipped out. The Chiefs decided to get shipped out. Like, if that's if that's how Patty we are, like, it's not my job. I'm not gonna say ship me out. But he's like that Father. Me?

Abby:   48:03
Yeah, he's grasping

Sheena:   48:06
He said you should have spoke up and said, I'll be shipped out. I'm like, you should've spoke up and said I'll be

Abby:   48:11
shipped out. Like,

Sheena:   48:12
Why are we even talking about like this?

Abby:   48:14
This'll was

Sheena:   48:15
the level like he wanted to be with his body. And I could sense that right eye. If somebody else was shipped out, his body was kept out. Then it wasn't He didn't have his body with him? Um, no, we continued for right. What? I don't think we worked a couple days, but now the rumors are spreading around the depart. Thank you. And mind you, this hasn't gone down, Pound. Yeah, Okay. Far as I know it, far as I know, it hasn't. I haven't had to be. I hadn't had to go downtown, so we get, um, so we come back from spring break. It's our 1st 1st time working together, right? And it's me and, um, the guy that I just had that conversation with right before spring break and first shift back. It's awkward. It's uncomfortable. Whatever. Were just avoiding each other. No big deal. Um, but then I'm being told that these guys are not taking it seriously right that you guys were walking around like, Oh, does that offend you? Does that offend you? That offensive. You know, I hope that doesn't, you know, just that awkward. Awkward enough. And, um And then they had also apparently made a comment to one of the, um, to a firefighter who used to be an officer, Um, police officer. And they had said, Hey, let's see if ah, harassment charges, um, is brought up against you. Like, how long can you go back Until you can actually be yourself. And it was like what? Like so you know, what you did was wrong. You're enquiring about like what the outcome's gonna be You're not taking it seriously. This is This is not okay. Right? So, um, we're so I'm hearing this stuff, right? And then every calling here. What's going on there? What's up? Like? Just the rumors are spreading. So that's one thing. So now we're into the This is April, and we're working this one, Chef. Um, and I we get through the chips, I go to sleep, I wake up in the in the morning and mind you, there's two. There's two restrooms. One is like the man's restroom, where there's multiple stalls and such. And one is like the women's and the accessible, uh, restroom right? Where if you were to come to the firehouse, I would say, Abby, here go. Here's the rat us.

Abby:   50:39
But here

Sheena:   50:39
is the restroom might gotta women sign it. That's acceptable. Sign. It's the women's restroom. So I wake up that morning, Um, and I'm changing or whatever. And I look and I was like, What? And I think they're is corn in the women's restroom

Abby:   50:58

Sheena:   50:59
three magazines, there's Playboy Heir. What a pen town. Uh,

Abby:   51:04
time around what the

Sheena:   51:05
other one was like Meggett like plate. Like why, Yeah,

Abby:   51:09

Sheena:   51:09
I I I remember shaking my head like No, no,

Abby:   51:15
it was so obviously targeted. And like, even if, uh, yeah, this is so old school harassment stuff. That's what's crazy.

Sheena:   51:22
Don't have porn in our bathroom. I you

Abby:   51:25
know I want to have it in the station. And honestly, nowadays, who even has magazines anymore? 20

Sheena:   51:32
19 like right? It's 2019. Come on. So packed, my optic because he's not there that day. I was like,

Abby:   51:41
Did you take pictures of

Sheena:   51:43
I took pictures of them. Yeah. And what I did is I brought him out on the table and I threw him on the kitchen table. I was like, Come on, you guys. What is this? And one of the guys that was part of the conversation. He's like, You should have kept that between your you and officer. And I was like, No, this shouldn't be happening. And if it's happening, you I should know about it because somebody deliberately put these in there.

Abby:   52:06

Sheena:   52:07
I was like, This is wrong,

Abby:   52:08
right? And they're trying to just keep it all settled behind your backs like No, I'm gonna call you out on it. Here it is. What the hell,

Sheena:   52:14
right? And I'm talking other people, and it's like this this 2090 like those were intentionally deliberately 110% put there to continue making you feel uncomfortable about off. No, I'm done by that. I'm dumb. This is stupid. This is ridiculous. I'm so over this. This is not what I signed up for. I don't want to be a part of this. I don't wanna have to go through this whole process investigation. All this kind of crap. I don't want to know too much like, um, so that day, I I print out my resignation papers. Right. So that was like, um

Abby:   52:50
and that April Miller, this is a career end of Yeah, I love

Sheena:   52:56
it. Love.

Abby:   52:56
You gotta grasp the gravity of this Is that, you know, you've gone had such a great crew are such a great career. And then now you're in this one. You got put in this one station with this one dynamic and people, and you've been speaking up in trying to fix it. And now you're in the place where it is ripping your life. The parts about You're about to resign. That's just crazy.

Sheena:   53:16
Yeah, I printed it out. I called my husband. I call my mom. I said I'm done. The Cupid. My husband was fantastic. 100 times of some sort of He says, Yeah. No, I just want my wife back because he knew I was dressed. He knew I wasn't sleeping. He knew that this was affecting an absolutely taking a huge toll on me because I knew what it was gonna entail. If I did take the downtown right, it was gonna be career changing and So I printed on my resignation,

Abby:   53:41
paid so much, said you were more You knew how hard it would be to take it all the way down there to where you were, like, why would rather just give up my entire career? Because I know how difficult that's gonna be. I'm done, and it's gonna

Sheena:   53:53
be right. I The future of my career was now in somebody else's hands. And I didn't like that because I didn't. You know, somebody had said to me once, like depressions like here, the past and anxiety, fear of the future. And I've never had anxiety. But like through this, like I was that inside that, you know, you can't catch your breath like that. Ah, uh, you know that that that weight on your shoulders and so but I'm gonna be done. So you know what? My gonna go away. I'm gonna be done because this is This isn't what I signed up for. I'm young. I'll finish my you know. Oh, I'll finish my degree and I'll go find something else to do. Right, Um, when I come home that day and I think I can tell this part of the story without crying because it's just it's going to tear up every time. Um, so I come home that day and my son, who is, um, he's six at the time. No, he's 70 does turn seven and he's having issues with these fourth grade bullies right at school, on these bullies. They're just jerks to him and dirt dirt friends. And he sees it. He's like, Comes home. He's like like, How was your day? Buddies like, uh, he's like the fourth graders again. Mom and I get down with him and I look at him in the eyes and I was like, Dane, you listen to me. I said, You stepped. Stand up to those bullies. You tell them to stop. I said, If they don't stop, you will find an adult and tell that adults. And if that adult doesn't listen, you go tell another adult and you keep telling until somebody listens and I, like instantly, was like, yeah, crap like I need to take my own advice. I'm telling my seven year old son to stand up to these bullies. I'm ready to walk out.

Abby:   55:35

Sheena:   55:36
and let these bullies carry on.

Abby:   55:37

Sheena:   55:38
and I was like I would be the biggest hypocrite I ever known. If I don't if I don't fight it Well, no. Yeah. So that was, um that was like a moment where I was like, Okay. All right. Brush off the dirt. Let's go

Abby:   55:54
back. Okay, I hear you up there, eh?

Sheena:   55:57
Oh, right. And so I go. And I, um I call my officer, and I told him I said, Hey, I just printed out my resignation papers. Bullet will wed. What? Whoa. You know, like, hold on, hold on. Don't do that. Hold on. And, um, it was, um he goes, Just hold on. Um, the four of us worked together, and I think it was like, next day or the day after, we're gonna have a meeting. Um, let's sit down. Let's sit down and see where we're at. So that was, like, the next day, and it was me, my officer, and the two guys that had the conversation, like and, um and we all sit down and one of the guys comes in, and he's like, I don't know why we gotta keep having these meetings with only these meetings when you're here. Like pointing at me and I was like, Oh, I Well, actually. And many have said like we had a really good day Last day was like I wasn't there and I was like, Oh, I said, Well, actually, you know So, um, last day when I work, somebody had put foreign in my bathroom and he's like and I said, My bathroom right, because

Abby:   57:06
it was the

Sheena:   57:07
women's bathroom. I wasn't trying to be territorial like it was, Ah, sentence that I had said instantly, The other guy, Time's up. He's like, See, You think your bathroom like it's just your bathroom. I use that bathroom, too. It's not just yours. And I was like, Okay, this is not conducive to our place of employment.

Abby:   57:26
They not working today. At least now we know where the pardon came from. Thanks, buddy.

Sheena:   57:31
It's like I did my bathroom because it has the women sign on it. That's only bad for my use by you know, uh and so it was just I can't I said, we can't do this. I said, Let's go. This is going downtown. We're done. We can't This isn't this

Abby:   57:48
thing of nice train

Sheena:   57:49
that day that day is when we it blue and then it's It's hard because you want You're not ready for that, right? So then it's like, Okay, whatever. To come downtown to contact your union. Let's go. HR coming, everybody important. Urgent meeting. And, um okay, you know, tell me what happened, and you're like, Oh, boy,

Abby:   58:11
here we

Sheena:   58:12
got like right? So where do I start? So I started from the beginning, and it was I think we're there for, like, an hour. Right? And it was so much like I'm not holding anything back. Like, I'm just gonna throw it all out there. You can handle it however you want. Here it is. This is what's happening, you know, do what you d'oh! And, um and so Ah, they started their investigation. They started the interview process. Um, after the after we went downtown. Then they ship me out to a different station. Those guys all went back to the station. Um, and the rumors again, we're now they're having right now. Everybody knew something was going on. And why a scene at the station midday? What's going on? And, um, we, uh the next day I was thio be be shipped out again. And they have said no to come down to headquarters. You on top with you. So they have a couple questions, and I know you're gonna say, you know, at station for now, those two guys will be shipped out

Abby:   59:18

Sheena:   59:19
So okay,

Abby:   59:20
so all right. Move that I've heard so far,

Sheena:   59:24
right? Yeah. And so then after they made multiple wrong ones. But, um so what? They're learning, right? Maybe they're learning process, because that's what we need to do through all this. Um, I ah, what else? Well, then, I we come back to work the next day, and we're just carrying on business. Unusual. Some days either. If I was off of those two guys would still be fishing together. And I'm hearing these rumors that these guys aren't taking it seriously. They're still walk around like belittling like, mimicking, like just not taking a serious on. Um, they had been assigned together during this investigation, and I was told that there again, they're just mimicking me. I'm not. You know that finger. I'm not going in that girl's bathroom. Um, no, not seven foot in there because I don't want to get in trouble And, you know that kind of attitude about it? Like they weren't taking it seriously.

Abby:   1:0:28
Yeah. Then the reason. Tendon. Nothing to fear yet.

Sheena:   1:0:32
No. Uh um, But I was, like, during you should not finally, all the rumors they're happening. Everybody, you know, reaching out your hearing. These guys are talking about you. You're hearing this. This is just a lot, right? And so, like, I was I was feeling the faster it all, um I had reached out to a chief, and I you know, it was, you know, simple. Like the advice is like, you know, make sure eating healthy makes your exercise and and just ignore it it'll go away. And I was like, uh, okay, I'm trying with not working. And then, um, I, uh um what was it? It was Meanwhile, during all this, I'm still trying to grow this camp, right. I'm so back to the girls, the youth girls fire camp. I'm trying to feel grow that trying to, um, still have my little shining light through all the bad stuff is going to keep me moving through all of it. And I'm still continuously trying to reach out. I'm not hearing back from the chief, and I'm not hearing back from Mom, and it's frustrating. Other people are frustrated because they want to move forward with this camp. So I sent a different chief to ah ah suburb. And I said, Hey, Chief, would you like to be the whole location for a northern Illinois girl fire camp? And first question was like, I didn't burn them on it. I don't know.

Abby:   1:1:49
He says, How

Sheena:   1:1:50
are you finding back by email? I can't speak for him, but I need to move forward because there is a wanton the need for this camp. Um, and he goes, Hey, we'll send the money. And now you see me on the email and, um, I don't want to take it from him. Right? Is what he said, you know? And I respected that. Probably go fine. I'll send him another email. Uh, uh. Okay, I've already sent him, like, 10 but whatever. Um and so he, um So your teeth Hey, looking to grow the cab in, I reached out blah, blah to see if they would be the host location. Since I hadn't heard from back from you. And he did that wants your approval. Nothing. That's like I think that was the beginning of April. And I sent that right, though here. Nothing here. Nothing. We're, um, to the end of April now. And this is just the stress of all of this is just what gonna happen. Oh, this is sexual harassment. Oh, this is retaliation. Oh, this is, you know, you're hearing all these big, scary words, and they're like, I don't want to be a part of this. I don't want this to be me. This isn't me. This isn't This isn't the career

Abby:   1:2:59
that I told you

Sheena:   1:3:00
right on. Um, and finally, um, and I'm hearing these guys they're upset, right? They're angry. They're that they don't understand why this is what's going on. They don't understand what they did was wrong. So they're angry, and they're, um and they're still not taking us seriously. So finally I reached out to, um human resource is, and I said, Hey, I sent him an email and I said, You guys, I said these guys, why were these two guys sylvian station together? I said the total liability. Um, you know, I everything I gave you has proof and substance and to put them together is a horrible or guys they're mocking and belittle Ian and not taking this serious. And so I sent that email and, um, you know, the chief of sound. I have apologized. They should have not been stationed together. That was a mistake. And I was like, It's not a These things

Abby:   1:3:54
don't happen ng you could take 71 of you,

Sheena:   1:3:58
right? You'd like. Come on. Um, And that day, you know, like I said, those guys were being stationed elsewhere, and this was this was stressful for me, obviously. And but I had never had a thought, um, about my safety, Right, because this is whatever. But we had gotten a call for a structure fire and I was driving. And I knew one of these guys was driving at another station and I heard the tones and I heard the dispatch. I heard who it was going, and I had a thought come into my head like, huh? I wonder if something bad happened Would he help me? And I was like, Oh, shoot crap. Like I've never had that thought before. Never, ever in my career have I had that thought and I was like,

Abby:   1:4:50
I was a big turning point for me, too. Is it was realized. If they're not gonna have your back there, they're not gonna have it out on the scene.

Sheena:   1:5:00
This is a stress ball. Life on the line career. And if I never had that thought crossed my hat in tow, have it? I said, this is not healthy. I already know what now? Because I'm feeling all this anxiety and all the stress, and it was like, this is next level on healthy. I cannot carry on with his career. Yeah, I'm if I'm questioning my safety, we depend on each other too much for that. I can't. Crap. I was like, uh and so that that tugged at me. And then that same day, I think with weeks later with a girl views camp, right? And so, um, I had said I felt like I'm still kind of holding out hope that it's gonna happen. And that same day that I had that thought about my safety and whether or not this guy would have my back, I finally got a response from the Chief. Mind you, I have been questioning my future of my career for, um, the question in my future in my career during the whole process, right? You know, speaking up is gonna cause, you know, kick back. How is this Not what if I want to promote what he gets, You know, the chief gets the ultimate say and the stuff like, Oh, my gosh, it's a lot. Right? And I was like, Oh, the future of my career is in this person's hands. And now I just woke up against not only his family, but the department. How is this gonna look in the future? And I had that worry, but I was okay with tryingto fight through that and let it kind of play out. Right? But that same day that I had that thought about my safety. The chief finally responded back to me about the camp, so I was excited of the old. Yep. Okay, I'm going to keep moving forward with it. And the email said Sheena, we will take a look at this camp once the current situation is results. How about what?

Abby:   1:6:52
So now because you're speaking up, it's even affecting things like that. It's stopping every school that you're retaliating on the girls.

Sheena:   1:6:59
Yeah. Yes. And I said, Well, you just took my future of this is that you just showed me what my future is. I don't need to stick around and let it affect my promotion, but it back my you know, transit. I don't I don't need to partake in that. No. Like right there. I said I'm done. This is not This is no longer a healthy career for me to be in. This is not a healthy place for me to be at. I cannot have a, um I can't have ah, good career here anymore. And so that's when I decided to compile all these e mails. You know what? I didn't want to walk away because I just spent the past two years standing in front of all these little girls trying them to pursue the career. Do this, and then I just go on, walk away, right, and just be like, No, I'm out. This done?

Abby:   1:7:46

Sheena:   1:7:47
What can I do to create a change? What can I do? When I was like, all right, I will Erin Brockovich with and compile

Abby:   1:7:53
all my

Sheena:   1:7:54
you know, stop and e

Abby:   1:7:55
mails and put

Sheena:   1:7:56
it all together?

Abby:   1:7:57
Yes. Oh, now let me shift into what she is doing. She created a Facebook page, and then I also want to know what point did you start consulting with an attorney? Did you start talking to attorneys at any point?

Sheena:   1:8:08
I think after the sexual after the conversation about oral sex is when I reached out. I'm

Abby:   1:8:14

Sheena:   1:8:15
What's going on?

Abby:   1:8:16

Sheena:   1:8:17
um, and started there.

Abby:   1:8:20
Okay. Cool. So, yeah, I just curious At what point? You're like, I need some professional help because yeah gets really right and, well, united

Sheena:   1:8:28
at my desk. My union part of like, why did attorney You think you're not in trouble, so I don't know. He's like, but what you want to, Because I was like, this is just 30. This is messy. This is like a really bad a fire scene like this just went This is like, this just exploded like this is next level. So, um, so, yeah, so I think once I um

Abby:   1:8:51
So you decided Iron brought college? This? Yeah. I don't want I don't want to get lost illegally because I want to make sure everybody hears about that piece. Is that yeah, so, yes. So tell me about the page because you are doing some really great pose. I love how you put him together. So what made you decide to start the page? What's the title of it? And what? What's your mission there?

Sheena:   1:9:11
So my the Facebook page that I created, you know, I had to be quiet about this. And that's a stressful thing about this, too. It's like where you're going throughout it, but don't talk too about, Like, it's totally confidential. You can't talk to anybody about it, right? And I'm like, it just eats away at you because you can't talk about it. And I've had an attorney during all this, and we've we've gone through, you know, I have ah case with the e o. C. And we're going through those motions, but you still can't talk to anybody about it. Can't go public. You can't tell anybody

Abby:   1:9:37
about who is talking about it,

Sheena:   1:9:39
right? Rocket. And, um, until finally, um, the beginning of the month. My attorney has said you know what? Go public with it. Let's go public because she didn't really give me a reason. Would just go public. Do what you want. She had also was like, you could write a full and I was like, I probably and so I think, you know, how do I do this? And I wanted people to experience the no ball, essentially a snowball effect of of bad choices made by other people and just a little jacked abs and how they continuously snowball. And it keeps getting worse and worse and worse. Right? So, like, if you take a piece of each one of these bad things at half and it's like that, yeah, that's bad. But it was a continuation of everything that was really the most impactful to me and made me really happy choose to remove myself because, like I said, it was no longer nobody has taken a serious nobody was really, you know, helping me feel, um, you know, like this, we're gonna get through this. This is you know, you did nothing wrong. I want to make sure you know that, like you almost I feel like the bad guy, right? You're throwing all your brothers under the bus, and then if you even if it's too bad ones than all the other one's going associate and They're like, Well, we're not all bad. They're all not bad. And that's the hard part. With all this is I don't want to shame the entire fire service. The Robert ever had some fantastic humans enough. Absolutely great firefighter than great people. But this this is something that needed to be addressed, right? So I said, Well, what can I do to creating? Because when I was looking for help, I was like, Who else is going through this? Somebody else has to be going through this. And that's when I actually stumbled on you and your kid and you had and fired me by your, you know, resignation. Effective immediately.

Abby:   1:11:37

Sheena:   1:11:37
do not like Okay.

Abby:   1:11:40

Sheena:   1:11:40
alright. It's like, essentially, it's

Abby:   1:11:42
dated today. It couldn't be in the back because everybody resigned. So many people go away so quietly and upset and hurt, and then nobody ever hears about it. Nobody ever learns from it. So that's why I didn't want that. Yeah.

Sheena:   1:11:54
Yeah, and that was where I came. That was my like, how can I You know, what can I do to create this change and help these people? I said you know what? I'm gonna compile all this stuff, and I'm going to give it to the people that the big people that could make the change. So all myself, my emails, the photos I even you know, in included, like, all the all the violations, although, you know, the laws that they violated, I put that all out there like dust. In case you forgot, this rule and regulation violated this one with violated.

Abby:   1:12:23
Yeah, there's this

Sheena:   1:12:24
article that state, you know, the mayor saying we have a zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace.

Abby:   1:12:30

Sheena:   1:12:31
And I'm over here like, uh Okay, well, I'm not feeling

Abby:   1:12:35
that good for

Sheena:   1:12:37
and so I gave it to the mayor. I gave it to the chief of Human

Abby:   1:12:41
Resources. I gave it

Sheena:   1:12:42
to the fire chief. I gave it to the union I c c of the police and fire Commissioner because I was like, You know what? I might not be here for the change, but if anybody can create change, it's gonna be these department has, right? Because that's what they This is who they are. They're the ones that can make the change. It starts from the top and have to have that trickle down effect. So I felt I had even made a call to come in a resource that I was like, Hey, hypothetically speaking, if there's an investigation and one of the parties resigns, does the case will continue this investigation so continually said Yes, it does.

Abby:   1:13:18

Sheena:   1:13:18
because I wanted to make sure that this will If I laugh. This wasn't just

Abby:   1:13:21
gonna being We got

Sheena:   1:13:22
about and swept under the rug, so that made me, you know. Okay, I need Thio. I need to separate myself. But I'm no longer in the I'm no longer feeling safe. I'm no longer feeling protected. I'm no longer feeling supported. I this isn't healthy for me. So, um Then I started compiling all and I handed it. Although everybody walked over it. Each person I sat down with a chief and he had said, You want me to read it now? When I said yes. But we sat there awkwardly and he read it all and said, Okay. He said, Well, thank you

Abby:   1:13:56
all 46 pages.

Sheena:   1:13:58
He's a happy

Abby:   1:13:59
one, drawn

Sheena:   1:14:00
46 pages and my union rep was there with me, and, um, I threw it all out there too, is Well, you know, for somebody that have you ever been harassed before? And I said, Well, there, you know, it was the same chief who refused. And I talked about this on my Facebook page because I was like, that was that was substantial. Significant. And chief need to know that I don't want a special accommodation just because I'm ah, woman or just because I just don't want to be a inconvenience to my crew. I had asked for a transfer when I was coming back from my first pregnancy so I could have ah, a spot thio pump for breast feeding and for nursing. Um, so I had to transfer requests that were denied for no good reason. The other than just the kind of pucker test up and be, like here you can in the dormitory with all your co workers. So you either a have to clean them out or just be nursing, you know, pump in front of them. I even threw that in the 40 dictated

Abby:   1:15:04
Tolerated that have passed that? Yeah. I mean, that was just Yeah. You weren't even gonna bitch about that.

Sheena:   1:15:09
I didn't even because I was like, you know what? I knew what it would entail, and I don't want to be. You don't want to be that girl, right? You don't want to be that girl. Speak up and say I need a separate class. But guess what? We are women, and we do need such requests. And it's no different than husband and wife asking for special request for a transferred if you know they're on different chefs there because, you know, somebody works a different schedule or, you know, there's transfer request. It happened for all first of things. And that is something that the kids need to be educated on. Like, No, I can't pump in front of all my crew like we have an open floor dorm. Like what do you How do you think this is gonna work?

Abby:   1:15:49

Sheena:   1:15:49
Andi, I even threw that in there. So please make it better for women who want to, you know, pump in private who don't want to talk about.

Abby:   1:15:58
But if you're going to go out, you might as well go out making all the points because there's a throat. Yeah, because there's so many. Like what I would find shocking is something big going on. And then I would go up to next like I would run into some big chief for director. Whatever. And he'd be like, Hey, Abby has it going. And I finally got to the point where I'm like, it sucks like it's not going good, because I have a body, see? And they'd be like, but and so I would say like, Well, I'm sure, you know, blah, blah, blah. And then right, he'd be like, Oh, no, I had no idea. And when I would realize that these things weren't trickling to the years that they needed to be trickling to to actually have change happen that's what I thought, Why? I'm gonna make sure you all see it. Then on the end, it's going to go to all of you.

Sheena:   1:16:38
Yeah, because then you find you when you

Abby:   1:16:40
speak to, you know, hear

Sheena:   1:16:41
other people. So other people you open, you open kind of the floodgates. And people are like, Hey, this happened to me and this happen to me in this. And

Abby:   1:16:48

Sheena:   1:16:48
you're like, what? Like you don't know. You're oblivious. All that stuff you hear little bits and pieces, but it's like, you know, people using the n word people doing in a, you know, inappropriate putting, you know, bananas in front of a black eyed, blacker And, you know, just think that's completely mind blowing that it's like, Why is the stuff being

Abby:   1:17:07
allowed? They're only saying like, Well, if we're not aware of it, we can't fix it. It's like, Well, now your ire of it.

Sheena:   1:17:12
You've been aware of it multiple times. And that was something to is that I couldn't find any record of any sort of sexual harassment training since 2014 the department,

Abby:   1:17:21
and had a new

Sheena:   1:17:22
something in 2018. So I resigned May night, Right? That was my Reformation day on Monday or Tuesday, May 13th the city put out, Ah, citywide sexual harassment training online program. So I think that was kind of like a cover your own butt type thing, like, um on And it just kind of like, you know, too late. That didn't help me. You know, these guys that they really didn't know that that was right or wrong, like this was too late. It doesn't hopefully help somebody else. But you know what, girls? I do Those online training people to click through it. They don't never read it. They don't. You don't learn

Abby:   1:18:01
anything just as guilty as the rest. You just gotta get it right

Sheena:   1:18:06
just a quick. You know, I just want to get the box tracks. So I haven't completed. And, um, so after, so after that, um, after my resignation this past year, I've been processed in this and internalizing and trying to figure out what can I do to help still create change, right? Because this stuff needs to be talked about. It needs to be addressed. Like this is what harassment looks like. This is what bullying looks like. This is what a hostile work environment does. And these, you know, the frat house mentality or locker room talk is inappropriate. And it needs to not be welcomed in any firehouse. And, you know, that's so I created a Facebook page and it was just it was me being able to do it, something I felt helpless, like during the whole process. You feel helpless. It's held up in the legal system, is held up by this. It's held up by that. And it's a long part, like 2 to 6 years, you know, And it's just 1/3. The the exhausting process that it is entails. So, um, mind you, I finally get documentation. We have avoided all of the disciplinary, the discipline that occurred to the firefighters for the past four years, right, Because we want to find out what happened. These guys in June, I had reached out and they said, Investigation's complete. Um, thank you for bringing this to our attention case of clothes. I think transfers happened. So what happens is these two guys got transferred out of the station right now they're just spreading it. So these guys are a different stations and it which happens every year. So it's not a punishment, but I assume they like punishment. And in our fire service of the letter in your file, right?

Abby:   1:19:49

Sheena:   1:19:50
So, um, show

Abby:   1:19:52
nobody knew about like it's quiet and safe.

Sheena:   1:19:54
Nobody knows about it. But if you are promoting, that's when it's cold. In. That, that's the only really wait can affect you is if you're gonna promote and they, you know, they pull your file and it's going through the commotion. This is in your file, not even the end of the world, especially if people don't want to promote whatever put a letter in their files and the show comparison. Like I got a letter in my file years ago for being on my cell phone.

Abby:   1:20:19
Right? I

Sheena:   1:20:20
was on my cell phone, so that was, you know, my bank account got hacked into, and I was trying to clear that off. And it was in between I wasn't, like, around a patient. We're sitting in the ambulance, but so yeah, So I got a letter. My file for being on my cell phone. Well, in December, we get all the, um, all the past four years of discipline. Boyd. And then I find out that these two guys did not even get a letter in their file for any of this.

Abby:   1:20:46
No, we admitted

Sheena:   1:20:47
to inappropriate conversation. They nobody they couldn't find who photoshopped my image. They couldn't find who did the porn. All this inappropriate behavior. Neither one of them even got a letter in their file on that against me. Just said you don't

Abby:   1:21:01
They're not. Well, you're not gonna get an example. No, you didn't

Sheena:   1:21:06
change anything. You had an opportunity and you didn't change anything and that you would like. I was just a punch in the stomach, and I was like, You know what? If you're not going to, I'm gonna help. And how could I do

Abby:   1:21:17
that? All

Sheena:   1:21:17
right, For a little brain that processes How can I help? What can I do? Like I'm just gonna start. You gotta start somewhere. So I'm gonna kind of create a blob. So I created, you know, based in the fire. My 46 page resignation on Facebook. It's just a Facebook. Belong. I'm hunting and packing my way through. I'm not a social media, you know, tak expert or anything, but it was

Abby:   1:21:39
the way to get in there. Some guard.

Sheena:   1:21:41
You get it out there and start sharing it. And even day one, The first day that I shared it, I had a woman returned to me and say, Essentially me to like, this is what's going on in mind. I don't know what to do when it's like, oh, crap. And then more women serving, you know? And then guys, they're reaching out. And then other people are reaching out, and it's like, Whoa, boy!

Abby:   1:22:02
Oh, right. Yeah, Yeah, it can be quite like it's a big responsibility that comes with

Sheena:   1:22:10
the says Ah, culture that is allowing this and continuing it and and then I'm researching and I'm finding out The fire service is the worst at retaining. Women are recruiting women and the work that retaining women like we're the most archaic industry out of the military are the police.

Abby:   1:22:29
When you get a chance, you said you said over and over. Here's what's happening. This isn't cool. Please help me fix it. I'll even help you And they just weren't willing. And it's a culture thing. It's that in its shocking and even when they have rules put in front of them, they're supposed to follow. They're not following them,

Sheena:   1:22:47
right? Yeah. And so it's just been a roller coaster. But I think by sharing my story and helping people see that even these little things that continuously buildup create big issues. And now Rockford Fire Department. I'm no longer there. I left. I resigned, but they still have those two guys there.

Abby:   1:23:08
Yeah, One of the three of you provided the most value,

Sheena:   1:23:12
right? And I miss it. I miss it every day. I mean, I love that job I look forward to going to work. There was, you know, an article. Because, um, it was I was in article for 25 most interesting people, and I was an article, and I quoted as saying, This is you know, that has not been a day that I woke up. I dreaded going into work, and that was valid. And that was true until the station assignment. And I was voted one of the top 20 people in Rockford last year on DDE. Um, I didn't know how I was gonna fulfill that title, right? Like, how do you like Wow, that's a big pile like, That's great. And I said, Well, maybe this is my way to help. Rock would be a better place for, um, people Thio work in the fire Service to be a part of the community like I wanted. I wanted more for that community. So I said, Well, if I could speak up and use my voice, help better that community and obviously other communities. So that has that ripple effect. Then that's what I'm gonna That's what? That I'm gonna turn this negative into a positive.

Abby:   1:24:18
That's great. That's three I love what you're doing. And I'm so glad that you're doing it the way you are. And you brought up a good point when we talked the other day. You said, you know, I didn't feel cause it wasn't this major sexual assault. It wasn't this, like, violent. Doubted that it does. So you felt like, Well, you know, do I even have a reason to be talking and then you That's when you found some of my stuff. And you're like, OK, yeah, see here, somebody speaking up about something that's not so so vile because when it's the with some of your stuff, too, you were able to say, Here are porno is being laid out here is something they said, But it's the all the other little subtle things. They're almost impossible to point out to people and, like the stuff about how they were making you feel and the way they were trying to throw you under the bus. And it's all that administrative stuff the way that your officer was handling it. Those are all the little layers that peck away at people toe where it's intolerable because you really can't just point at it and stop it. And that's right. And we're helper looking things

Sheena:   1:25:21
like as firefighters. That's what we want to do. We want to fix you and help you, and that's what we want to do. And I wanted nothing more than this sector and meet if he helped burn it, because I knew I didn't do anything wrong. But it's hard as a victim to to admit that, right?

Abby:   1:25:36
Yeah. Well, you know what a supporter. You have the personal support. You have a really great husband who's supporting you. He's like, I let's leave that place like, Come on, we'll make it work. You can

Sheena:   1:25:47
see that they don't deserve you. Just be done.

Abby:   1:25:50

Sheena:   1:25:50
and but they were So my I'm finding There are so many women that can't do that.

Abby:   1:25:54
Exactly. I don't

Sheena:   1:25:55
have that option.

Abby:   1:25:56

Sheena:   1:25:56
are the, you know, sole supporter or they don't. You know, they can't and they know that I've had so many women. Were you telling me that that that's happening to me? I know exactly that, and I can't leave and I'm like, man,

Abby:   1:26:09
but they know what? They're

Sheena:   1:26:10
not been tailed.

Abby:   1:26:11
Yeah. Yeah. And even you invested so much of your life and into this, and that's what's so frustrating. You gave so much. But that's kind of what the's bad cultures thrive on, because they know that it's not safe for you to speak up, and they know that. You know, I'm not saying that like the chief sitting at his desk right now knows like, Oh, she'll never say anything because we've got her by the you know, No, that's It's not that they consciously No, it's just that they know that you'll be in sick. You'll be unsecure. They'll completely have. All your security is taken away from me if you start speaking up and they know that people are safer, just letting things go, and they're hoping they'll just go away. And

Sheena:   1:26:48
because if I had them, there's no way I could have not definitely if I had stayed there working, employed by the I cannot spoke up about this. I could have never talked about this again.

Abby:   1:26:58
Right rate for Nate.

Sheena:   1:27:00
It goes away and that

Abby:   1:27:02
that's where I was at two. And I knew that Hey, my booty was too valuable because I knew that if I stayed, I wasn't standing by the values that I live. If I stay there and just kept tolerating it, and I might be speaking in turning your head right and I couldn't speak in such an open forum if I was still there, they would have me shot up or they would find a way to fire me for it. So the only way to do it and there's just way too much value. It's not just about financial value, you guys, it's about how can you live with yourself? What kind of values do you have? You know, where is your integrity and if if I get it. But there's other. I was like I was when I was at the point where, like, I would rather go serve coffee at Starbucks like I am. I'll go be a priest, I'll tell you exactly you know way. Yeah, because it wasn't the job wasn't fun anymore. They were taking away everything that was great about it and showing absolutely zero support and zero willingness to change. They would talk about it, they would say it. They would tell Congress it they would do all this great stuff, but they weren't actually proving it on the ground and right? Yeah,

Sheena:   1:27:59
and it just it bread in. It spreads. And if you allow it and it keeps being allowed, it spread to the department and it's you create the tactic culture and that that's where, like, I can't wait right now on my pages like, Oh, there's so much stuff on the right is all bad. It's a lot. It's a lot, You know, It's bad, bad, bad. But that is not my goal. My goal is to get to the point where we can learn from it, you know, to stand up and say, Hey, is this sexual harassment? Think of what you do. Think of all the little things you do to other. You know, your crew to the people around you. And how can you make sure that the doesn't happen? Can you be the person that's gonna stand up and have a that you know, what can we do? Is the culture to make sure that this type of stuff doesn't continue happening. That's my goal, right? I had a buddy Tony's. I'll worry. We're not all bad guys and I was like, You are

Abby:   1:28:50

Sheena:   1:28:50
100 Texas and I agree with you like? Absolutely. But there is clearly on issue with a couple of U

Abby:   1:28:58

Sheena:   1:28:58
So even if we can change those, um, you know, and my pages public and that was something new that I kind of like, Do I keep it public? Gonna make it private, like you have to like it. You're not. But you know what? I want that crabby troll who maybe doesn't you You know things the same way that I think I want them to troll on it,

Abby:   1:29:20
you know? And even if somebody gets on there and says something bad, that's okay. It's gonna crack open the conversation, cause you'll have people that support you, jump in there and, you know, make the other points. And that's okay. Go ahead, Young. Let a lot of people So there's a lot of people that are a little bit and they're like, Oh, I do that they're not gonna say anything, but they're gonna be like, That's not cool or I'm super. Maybe it does. Yeah.

Sheena:   1:29:43
Maybe it will help, even if it's one person that that guy, if they understand what being that guy means to somebody else, they know their jerk like that, you know, self proclaimed. Probably like they're okay with that. That's what they want to be. But like you truly can affect somebody in a really negative way. And I came across the coalmine door who, like, If you look at her picture, I was like, That's me like blonde hair, green eyes like she she had me. Her story could have been my story, you know, And she committed suicide because of the bullet and the harassment. And I came home one day to my husband. I said, you, I said, I'm not going thio. I'm not going to, but I I see why people commit suicide over bullying. Harassment does this stupid

Abby:   1:30:27

Sheena:   1:30:28
And this is bad.

Abby:   1:30:29
My sister reached and uni after that article, just like crying. And she's like, Oh my God, this is you and ah, yeah and Kathleen Stanley. That's how I kind of became connected to her. That battalion chief that spoke up to her whole department because after she was on that department where she killed herself and she, Kathleen spoke up and did some really cool things, and I started talking with her and yeah, this is you guys. It's rampant. It's everywhere. It's a culture thing and we can't pretend like it's not or we can't pretend like we just put a a training band Aid on it like it's it's bad. And

Sheena:   1:31:03
we can use this for, you know, to educate. Like you know, you see the second harassment videos where the officer from the puts his hand on the shoulder and it's uncomfortable. It's like that is valid, Yes, but there were these little things that are building up to create these cultures. And you're losing good, valuable employees because of it. You know? Why can't the Fire Service retain women? Why? Oh, our people lead. I wanted a wire. Women leaving the fire service.

Abby:   1:31:29
Right? And they're listening like, Look, they just lost. Like, the whole catalyst of that women's that or that Girls fire program in, right? Those guys aren't gonna do anything like that.

Sheena:   1:31:41
No, And that's a bad thing to it. Because, you know, my attorney that what Can you go in? Can you get a job doing the can you do the camp? And I said I you know, right now I have, like, an internal struggle because how do I sample from the young girls and say, Hey, I'm doing a job. It's great and wonderful And at the same time, I just went through what I went through and the outcome was with outcome was and I was like Clearly there's another path for me right now and it's it's a bigger you know, It's a bigger piece of the puzzle. I will get back because I do think women belong in this industry. And I do think that there is value and sharing that and showing showing the young girl that you can be anything and you can do anything you want.

Abby:   1:32:19
I like there. I thought I'd go of you when you were talking about Yeah, The young boys to that are interested Because why are we just training young women like this is how you tolerate these environments? This is what you do. This is how you baba blah. We need to be teaching more young men like this is how you don't be like, you know, John and Jim the jerks like yours. You know, we need Thio. You have they fire Academy of Young Boys Fire Academy that taught them how to be good people I mean, yeah, that's part of Bauer. I

Sheena:   1:32:48
what I had a friend results me. She just kind of sent her, you know, sent her well wishes and I'm sorry happening. And she spoke about one of our chief of the 911 dispatch, right? She had wrote shows. Did you know the phones over the book of Children's books? And it's some from her granddaughter saying, Well, women can't be fire Chief girl can't be fire achieve So she and I haven't looked into it yet, but she has said she wrote a book about, you know, women being, you know, in male dominated field. And it's a Children's book I said I needed. I needed to find out what that book is because I'm gonna read it, my boy. So my boys know that they're no

Abby:   1:33:26
different, like

Sheena:   1:33:27
we all just want to do the same job and everybody bring, you know, positive attributes, and some if you have a negative attribute that comes with it, it's okay because we're a team and we're gonna help each other out and pick each other up. But we have to be respectful. We have to be encouraging. We have to be, ah, team where we're gonna work together and we're gonna know we have each other's back.

Abby:   1:33:53
Yeah, absolutely. And you what? Like your I'm so proud of you. I'm just so proud of you. You know,

Sheena:   1:33:59
I'm proud of you. And I'm so glad I found you. I know,

Abby:   1:34:02
I know. I don't know what your next step is with the next, But like you said, there is a bigger There's a bigger thing out there. You have way too much spirit and passion, and you're way too committed to the good to you to go. Bru, bru, coffee at Starbucks. You're gonna be doing something lighter. I love it. I love it. And I want it

Sheena:   1:34:25
once so that, you know,

Abby:   1:34:28
I want everybody to go follow her page to its tell me the whole title, so I don't mess it up.

Sheena:   1:34:33
So it is faith in the fire. My 46 paid resignation

Abby:   1:34:38
and we will put a link to that in the show notes and anything else that you send over that you would like them to have. I'll put that in the show notes so that it's in there. And I think we need to do a follow up later and find out what the reaction's been. What? Because I'm curious what kind of feedback you're getting from people. You're gonna be amazed how many people reach out to you looking for help or sharing their story and the men to. There's so many great men that reach out, and they're either the ones that really break my heart or the ones that reach out about their significant other, their wife or their sister and their like. She went through this or I ripped her apart, and it's I've seen it. I've had people reach out to me as a couple, telling me how it ripped both of them apart. How they were both retaliated on because one spoke up and you know that kind of stuff for its or the mother's reaching out about their daughters or the dad's reaching about. Their daughters are asking if their kids should even be in fire. And like you, I'm like, Yes, absolutely, they should. It's wonderful and yeah, it's speaking up comes with so much more responsibility than just taking on the grudge. It's it's taking on the tribe of the people that have your back and trying to help them to a better place to sew. And clearly you Yeah, yeah, let's do it together. Says, Yeah,

Sheena:   1:35:49
I love

Abby:   1:35:50
it with both of you will be in front of some departments and get on some stages and be like, Here we are. This is who we are. Let's make it better. So I said, don't argue. That

Sheena:   1:35:59
is the goal. I'm like that. I absolutely create a bigger vision for everybody

Abby:   1:36:04
And make

Sheena:   1:36:05
that Ah, you know, it doesn't have to be Ah, horrible place,

Abby:   1:36:10
and it shouldn't be awesome. You felt the good of it. You had many great years. So yeah, I know. I got a bad impulse here. Yeah, yeah, your

Sheena:   1:36:19
lines for reason. Uh, clearly I if I If I keep ignoring this, then they're just gonna keep presenting, you know, presented itself, so acknowledge it, own it and, you know, keep moving forward. So I'm in looking forward to the future. And what brings this fire's clearly there's a need

Abby:   1:36:36
read on, girl. Well, thanks so much for being on the podcast and really appreciate it. And I hope that this helps spread the word for your situation and brings more awareness. So let's do a follow up to

Sheena:   1:36:47
Yeah. Thank you so much for all your

Abby:   1:36:49
work. Absolutely.

Sheena:   1:36:50
You're amazing. Thank you.

Abby:   1:36:52
All right, I'll talk to you soon. All right. Don't good things. Right. But by and that is all that we have for you today on up in flames. Now, please go check out the show notes for more information. There's gonna be links to the stuff we talked about on here for her Facebook page and for patri on so that you guys can support this effort. If you support what we're doing, you support choosing the hard right over easy silence. Please become part of the tribe. Check out all the all the links there in the show notes. Join us and check out abby bolt dot com If you have any other questions or like to hit me up about something I would love to hear from you. And don't forget all of our social media links to were everywhere out there. So with that, do me a favor. Keep choosing the hard right. It is not easy, You guys, She's the hard rate. Over easy silence and lead with fire. No,