Alvarez will report for orientation Monday morning

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Audrey Anna Alvarez, the first woman professional fire fighter of Alice, took the oath of office Friday as her father, Oscar Alvarez, pinned her fire badge - imprinted with a ladder, helmet, bugle and pike pole - on her uniform.

"I'm excited and I'm ready to do this," said Alvarez, a Kingsville native. "I'm ready to get out in the city of Alice."

On Friday, Municipal Judge Edie Gonzalez-Lemon performed the duties of oath of office for Alvarez, the first woman fire fighter to be on the city's payroll.

More than 50 people attended the ceremony at the council chambers. Fire Chief Dean Van Nest introduced Alvarez and welcomed those in attendance. During the ceremony, Alvarez's friend, Paula Rico, assisted with the lapel pins and Alvarez's father pinned the fire scramble badge on her.

Oscar Alvarez said his daughter is an individual who goes after her dreams.

"I've always wished she would acquire her dreams and this is one of her dreams," Oscar Alvarez said. "She always comes through."

Oscar said he has trust in the fire fighters to take care of his little girl.

"They are professionals, that's the name of the game," he said. "I know they will take care of her, and she will take care of them."

Rico said she was happy to be part of the pinning ceremony for her friend.

"I'm honored," Rico said, as she was taking pictures. "I'm proud of her."

Van Nest said Alvarez would report at 8 a.m. Monday and go through a week-long orientation.

"We just want to tune up what we do in Alice," he said. "I expect her to do the same job like the guys."

Alvarez said she was able to handle other fire fighter trainees bigger than her at the academy.

"I didn't have a problem," she said. "We did everything from rescue to haz-mat, we did it all. I took the big guys and rescued from the ladder."

Van Nest said each time the department has a new staff member, they will conduct a pinning ceremony.

Alvarez was also the only woman of seven who trained in the Fire and EMS Academy for the past seven months.

She is an H.M. King High School 2002 graduate and lives in Kingsville.

Alvarez said she was pursuing an emergency medical service tech, but her passion swayed her into fighting fires.

"My hope was that I wanted to do EMS; when I was at the academy I realized I had a passion for (fire fighting), I fell into it and I love it," she said. "It's not a desk job and I didn't want a desk job."

Alvarez said she's heard good things about Alice's fire fighter program and will go into it with an open mind.

"I've heard good things about the fire fighters in Alice," she said. "I thought this would be a good starting place for me."