Linda Bauer: Undercover Hero
Sometimes heroes are in our midst and we don’t even know it. They are standing next to us in the grocery checkout line as we pick up our dinner fixin’s, sitting next to us in the theater while we watch the latest blockbuster, or cheering beside us as we root for our favorite team.
Much like the mild-mannered Clark Kent, who darts into that iconic phone booth and in an instant pops out all superhero-bedecked and ready to take on the world, our own local, undercover heroes perform their own transformation. Of course, they don’t rush into phone booths, but they do, at the beckon of a pager they carry with them pretty much at all times, drop what they’re doing (literally, whatever they’re doing), and answer the call.
Linda Bauer is one of those folks. She’s a mom, a business owner, a church-going gal, and a firefighter. And she’s proven her mettle many times since she first, rather unexpectedly, became a Maple Grove firefighter in 2005.
“Literally, I was driving my kids to school one morning, and I saw this sign up in front of the station stating they were looking for day responders,” says Linda, “and I pulled in the parking lot, wrote the number down and called. Chief Anderson answered and I said, ‘look, this is a long shot because I’m five-feet-five-inches and rather small, and I can’t carry people down ladders, but I’m self-employed and available during the day.’ He told me there were many jobs on the department for smaller-statured people, areas that the bigger guys couldn’t get into, and he said I should come on in.”
So that’s what she did.
A few weeks after pulling into the parking lot, after background checks and medical and psychological testing, she started her four-month course at Hennepin Technical College, which included firefighter 1 and firefighter 2 training; that was January 2005. Later in the year, she completed first responder and Hazmat training and certification.
Her first call was nerve-wracking and Linda reveals that for the first six months she thought a lot about the mental switch, that shifting of realities from being at one moment home making dinner for her two sons (Grant and Drew, now eighteen and sixteen years old, respectively) or in the shower, or in the dentist’s chair, and six or seven minutes later being face-to-face with a life-threatening situation.
“That took a bit of time for me,” she says, “but now I don’t even think about it. I just go about my life.”
This is exactly what she was doing two years ago when she came up-close-and-personal with her own life-threatening situation.
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