“You get in the truck. You hear the sirens. Cars are getting out of the way,” Randi Bray said, describing one of the first times she responded to a call for the Wetumka Fire Department. “It’s a kind of scary that forces you to focus, to be aware, and try your hardest to help those in need.”
Bray, a Seminole State College sophomore set to finish her associate’s degree in Elementary Education in the fall, became the first woman to ever join the Wetumka Fire Department last year. The Wetumka Fire Department is volunteer-based and includes 17 other members. They attend training sessions once per month. Bray said the department responded to approximately 40 calls last year.
“I’ve always been a fire bug,” Bray said. “My dad has served on the Wetumka Fire Department for 25 years. When I was little, I was fascinated by the truck, by the gear. I wanted to be like him.”
Community is important to Bray. She chose SSC to remain close to her hometown, where she also lends a hand with the Wetumka High School FFA program when she can.
“I love that the College is a big family. I know if I get a flat tire, somebody’s going to help me,” she said.
Beyond her commitment to community, Bray recently picked up writing poetry. She said she was never the strongest English student, nor did she care to be until she took a composition course.
“For the first time, an instructor wanted to know how I felt, how the class felt, about certain topics. I felt heard, and I began to enjoy reading and responding to the assignments,” she said. “I was pushed to be my best.”
Her hard work paid off when a poem she wrote in class was published in the Fall 2018 edition of the Oklahoma English Journal, curated by the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English.
Upon completion of her associate’s degree, Bray plans to attend East Central University in Ada or Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. She would like to teach students from kindergarten to third grade and eventually pursue her master’s degree in counseling. “After that, my big dream is to, you know, be the State Superintendent. We’ll see how that goes, but I’d love to help reshape education in Oklahoma.”