Firefighters are a special group. They are called to battle fires, respond to car wrecks and other emergencies on a nearly daily basis.
They do it because they truly want to help others and while some bring a paycheck home to their families for their efforts, there are others who choose to have other jobs but then volunteer their time to be there and answer the call whenever that call is made.
Arianna Moore is one of those who want to dedicate a lifetime to serving the public as a firefighter. Arianna likely has already seen more burned out homes, mangled car parts and human blood than most friends her age. She is a seasoned veteran in the role she plays at the scene of a fire or emergency.
Arianna Moore is age 15.
Arianna has been around fires and such for much of her young life because her father, Michael Moore, is a volunteer firefighter.
Michael was first involved in firefighting on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has continued since their move to DeSoto County as a member of the Lewisburg Volunteer Fire Department.
Moore has always believed in exposing his children, Arianna and her 18-year-old brother Hunter, to his experiences for his children to learn from them.
Arianna said going with her father on fire calls heightened her interest and desire to do the same thing.
“He brought me to the fire station and brought my friends to the fire station,” Arianna said. “I asked him if there was any way I could join up here. He had conversations with the chief (Lewisburg Fire Chief David Linville) and the chief finally said yes, but said I had to go with my father and could not go by myself.”
Michael Moore points out that Arianna is not an official firefighter because the state does not allow that to happen until she turns age 18 and achieves her certification. That does not mean Arianna has not already been “training,” you might say, for that time already.
“She knows the inside and out of a fire truck and she actually has the training manual that they have at the Fire Academy and studies every night like homework,” Moore said. “She’s actually getting ready to sit through the training classes. She’ll only be able to audit them, but down the line she’ll be able to take the test and get an actual certification.”
Right now, Arianna fills in wherever she is needed in a support role beyond the actual firefighting or rescue.
“I do anything that’s needed. Grab tools, follow along, learn something, anything,” Arianna said.
That support role became a consoling and communication role for an injured victim of a car wreck in mid-December at the intersection of Highway 305 and College Road.
Rhodes College freshman Ellie Schreiner of Olive Branch was seriously injured when her car crashed with a semi-trailer truck at night. She was trapped and had to be extricated from the vehicle before being taken to Regional One Health in Memphis for treatment.
The Lewisburg department responded to the wreck and did the extrication. Arianna’s role was to shine a light on the wreckage for the firefighters, but she started a conversation with Schreiner to tell her what was going on. It became a “girl talk” of sorts between two teenagers talking about sports and most anything else.
Schreiner played basketball at DeSoto Central High School and Moore plays volleyball, among other activities.
“We were talking about basketball and volleyball and things that didn’t have to do with a life-or-death situation,” Schreiner said. “It was nice to not be so freaked out in the moment and just be able to talk with another girl who is more like me.”
Linville said Arianna impressed his entire department with what she did that night.
“My whole department was amazed at what she did in that car wreck,” Linville said. “She (Schreiner) wanted out the minute we got there, but due to the circumstances we couldn’t just pop her out. Extrication is never pull the patient from the car. It is pull the car from the patient.”
Moore’s actions also made an impression on Schreiner’s parents, Ed and Heather Schreiner of Olive Branch.
“I specifically remember her walking between us and Ellie two or three times and looking back at us in a somewhat positive way,” said Ed Schreiner. “Ellie was literally on the stretcher telling me that she had to teach the girl how to play basketball.”
“Arianna was talking to her more conversationally and it was less annoying at the time for her to be talking about something else,” Heather added.
An item left behind at the accident helped to continue the bond between rescuer and victim, however. Moore recovered Ellie’s basketball from the back of the car and had all the firefighters sign it. Arianna then presented the ball to Ellie once she was discharged from the hospital.
“Having it signed with everybody saying they were praying for me meant so much to me,” Ellie said. “I think it is awesome that she wants to be a firefighter. She’s very courageous in that she’s putting herself in these dangerous situations. I’m really impressed.”
“She touched base with me that night after the accident through Facebook as did the EMTs, which really meant a lot to me,” Heather said. “It felt like it wasn’t just a job to her, that it was something that was really meaningful to her.”
Arianna continues in school in Olive Branch and works at the fire hall and continues to answer fire calls with her dad. But, she’s looking forward to the day when she can receive her certification and be an “official” firefighter at age 18.
“I’m simply helping others,” said Arianna.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.