WESTERNVILLE, NY (WSYR)- Severe weather has struck Westernville again and again this summer. You can feel compassion for the community. But can you imagine being 16 and braving the front lines when disasters hit?

Stephanie Grocholski, of Westernville describes the day an EF-1 tornado tore through the town. She said, “It worried me what could’ve happened down the road to my family and everything but I was ready, I wanted to get out and help.”

Stephanie is the oldest of four siblings. She volunteers at the Fire Company of Western. She says, “This town’s like a big second family to me, especially here. I’ve known everyone my whole life here.”

She’s the fourth generation of firefighting volunteers, the youngest and the first female. 

Stephanie said, “My Dad’s Dad was a firefighter here and his Dad was a firefighter here and now my Father’s Assistant Chief and now I’m here.”

You could say she was born with the passion, dedication, and commitment to serve. 

She said, “I felt like it was right to do and I had the inspiration to come out here and do it.”

Harnessing the bravery and discipline is what she’s continuing to build every day. She has completed more than 100 hours of training in the classroom and hands-on practical skills.  

“Going through the training, you definitely push outside your comfort zone. I just completed my interior course, at the end of the month here I’m going to be doing a swift water class so it’s just like trying to help out, get all my classes in, and just what I can do more.”  

-Stephanie Grocholski

Anything to help out is her why. Having the encouragement is her fuel. Both of which is something we can all learn from and inspire to give others more often.