Sizzling Community Service

By Alice Maggiore

May 3, 2012 Updated May 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM EST

Town of Chenango, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A Broome County teenager helps fights flames as one of the only women volunteer firefighters in her company. She's also one of 30 winners of the Student Community Service Awards presented by State Senator Thomas Libous, BOCES and WBNG-TV.

Whitney Point Senior Meredith Summers joined the Chenango Volunteer Fire Company when she turned 16.

"Both of my parents, my older brother and my older sister were members, so I wanted to try it out," she says. "I liked it, so I stuck with it."

Now, she balances fire training, school and sports.

"IIt's a little crazy sometimes, I don't get to come down here as much as I'd like to, calls during the night I can't always get up, just cause I know I have school in the morning," Meredith says.

She helped Castle Creek neighbors when September's waters rushed through town, and when fires threaten town buildings. Meredith has been on a barn fire call, as well as a house fire call.

"She used to be a real quiet individual. She still is kind of, but she's getting around with us, and went from basically being a red tag, which is a exterior firefighter, to going through classes to become a yellow tag, which is an exterior firefighter wearing a pack," explains Chenango Co. Chief Derin Kraack.

"The last LIVE fire I was at, during the overhaul process, I was able to man a hose with a teammate, after the main fire was out. Just make sure everything was really wet and it wouldn't start up again."

Meredith says she sprated the hose everywhere -- checking for hotspots.

Soon, she'll trade yellow tags for green.

"Allowing her to actually go inside and work with the guys," says Chief Kraack.

But her biggest challenge is proving she can hold her own.

"I feel like all the guys are more helpful to me sometimes. I like to be independent. I like to be able to prove myself that I can do everything just as good as they can," Meredith says. "So, sometimes it's annoying, but then I like it. Because it gives me an extra push to be better."

Pushing to protect the community she so diligently serves.

"Being able to help put that stuff out, and even with the floods, just being there. And being able to help them, everyone was so grateful," says. "It makes you feel really great, being able to know that you've helped... even by just doing a little thing."

"She's well liked, well spoken about, you know," her Chief says. "She comes down, she puts 110 percent into her job, she's willing to do whatever it takes."

Each student will get a $1,000 scholarship to go toward a college or university in New York State.

Meredith will use the scholarship to help pursue nursing at Broome Community College.

For more information about all of the winners, visit Senator Tom Libous' website.