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A mother and her teen daughter both sign up to be volunteer firefighters


Now we meet a high school senior with a side hustle.

MOKEIRA GEKONGE: My name is Mokeira Gekonge, and at Barren Hill Fire Company, I'm a volunteer. I'm a junior firefighter.


Mokeira lives in Whitemarsh Township, Pa.

M GEKONGE: I would see a lot of signs out at different stations, and they were all requesting help and volunteers needed. So that was kind of the first thing that drew me to it and made me feel like I could help out.

INSKEEP: So she told her mom, Betsy Gekonge, she wanted to be a firefighter.

BETSY GEKONGE: When Mokeira decided that she was going to apply, I felt that me not knowing enough about the fire service, one way for me to kind of educate myself about it would be to also participate and volunteer. And so that's where my journey started.

FADEL: Yeah. Her mom joined with her.

M GEKONGE: I was surprised because I had expected to just do it by myself, and she never really talked to me about wanting to do it, as well. It was kind of spontaneous. So it was a nice surprise.

INSKEEP: A kind of spontaneous combustion. After training for the past year, Mokeira and Betsy are now certified, fighting a trend in which fewer people than in the past serve as volunteer firefighters.

(SOUNDBITE OF ELM'S "CLEVER GIRL") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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