Retirement – Kim Ross

After 31 years as a first responder, as a firefighter in Lincolnville, and later as an EMT in Marion, Kim Ross reached her retirement at the end of December.

Ross became the first female fire captain in Marion County with the Lincolnville department in the mid-’90s, but she saw resistance along the way.

“One of the older gentlemen from Lincolnville told me a woman’s place was in the home, barefoot and pregnant,” she said. “That irritated me. I decided that if I failed, it was my choice instead of somebody telling me I couldn’t do it.”

Ross moved to Lincolnville in 1986, and joined the fire department soon after.

In her time there, she became one of the department’s constants, Lincolnville fire chief Les Kaiser said. He joined at the same time as Ross and Barry Montgomery, who had already retired.

“With her gone, it’s just like I’m the last one of the three,” he said. “It was difficult to see her go. There were just so many different calls we went through, hundreds of calls that had an effect on us.”

The trio was convinced to take the EMT exam by then-EMS director Joann Knaak, which started Ross’ involvement with medical services.

Not even pregnancy or council members could stop Ross, Kaiser said. One council member tried to prevent her from working EMS and fire when she was pregnant, but he and Knaak supported Ross’ case.

“As long as the doctor said she could run, I let her run and that’s the way Joann was at the time too,” Kaiser said.

The transition to working exclusively as an EMT began around the time Ross moved to Marion with her second husband in 2002.

“When she left Lincolnville and moved to Marion, that was a loss for Lincolnville,” he said.

Her husband owns and drives for Triple R Hauling in Marion, while Ross handles the office work.

While she enjoyed firefighting and working for EMS, the time investment was too much for both, Ross said.

“As our kids got older, it was a struggle to keep up with them, and full-time work, full-time EMS, and my trucking job,” she said. “My husband said something, either fire or EMS, had to go.”

Jamie Shirley has worked with Ross since becoming EMS department secretary 14 years ago, and Ross made a sizable impression at the office and in the community.

“She was very professional,” Shirley said. “When she would show up at a call, folks in Marion always felt reassured.”

The decision to hang up her EMS jacket for good was no quick decision.

“With my grandkids growing up so fast, we decided my time was better spent here with the business and spending time with our grandkids,” she said.

Ross began discussing her retirement a year ahead of time, but there was some hope she wouldn’t go through with it.

“I definitely kept trying to convince her to recertify for another two years,” Shirley said.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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