HAMILTON —This past July, the Hamilton Fire Department filled a vacant full-time firefighter position with Kristine Ellis.

Originally from Reading, Ellis graduated from Tufts University in Medford with a degree in English. She got a job in Boston right out of college as a receptionist for an editing company before joining the Fire Department as an on-call firefighter in 2004.

A graduate from the Massachusetts Call Volunteer Recruit Firefighter I/II Program, as well as being a Certified EMT, Ellis has donated a lot of her personal time throughout her 15 years as an on-call firefighter in public schools, volunteering and educating students on fire safety through the S.A.F.E. Program (Student Awareness Fire Education Program).

“I wish I could go out into the schools more, because children need to know the importance of fire safety,” said Ellis. “Getting to meet children from all over and teaching them what I do and the importance of fire safety, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s important and beneficial for the community.”

Ellis also invites students and their families to tour the fire station at any time, as she enjoys giving tours and educating the community.

The reception from the Hamilton community as a whole has been very supportive in Ellis’s latest promotion.

“I am proud to be a firefighter. Not a woman firefighter, but a firefighter,” said Ellis. “I just feel like a regular firefighter, just like any other person here. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but I’ve never felt any different than the other men in the department.”

Ellis continued, by explaining she has always been treated like an equal by her fellow firefighters in the department. When Ellis was first involved with the Fire Department, she attended a spaghetti dinner for families where she was asked, “Is your husband on the department?” To this day, that interaction gives her a good laugh.

“It’s important for girls to see women in these roles so it can inspire them to chase after their dreams,” she said. “Maybe I can be someone’s role model.”

Ellis values happiness, kindness and compassion, and strives to help people and make things better.

Ellis’s biggest fans are her son and husband, who couldn't be more proud of their mom and wife.

“I find my worth in being the best mom and wife I can be,” she said. “They have been the best in this transition. My son loves to tell his friends, ‘My mom’s a firefighter!’ I couldn't have done this without them.”

When Ellis is not at the station, you can find her riding and taking care of horses, another passion she has had all of her life.

“Some people have a vision and some people follow a path,” said Ellis. “In my case, I strayed off that path, but the end result was great, and the rest is history.”