HELENA — Audrey Todd-Davis has been at the Baxendale Volunteer Fire Department since she was 16 years old, and just recently, she was named the first woman captain since the department's inception in 1988.
"It's very emotional. I never dreamed that this would ever happen," said Todd-Davis.
Todd-Davis is a professional photographer. She and her husband Doug originally started with the fire department by taking pictures of fire scenes alongside the station. They would create books and provide them to the department that would help with Baxendale's training nights for all the different scenarios firefighters have to face. Then, the chief asked her to join them, and then it was history.
"Dave Mason was the chief out here at the time and asked me if I wanted to join the department. And I said no, I just wanted to do the photography. And he said, I'd really like for you to come and join us. He said, it seems like you kind of enjoy this. And so I said, well, okay, if I get the right training," said Todd-Davis.
With her father, her brother, her husband, and her son involved with firefighting, as well as other first-responding positions, she felt that becoming a firefighter was in her blood.
"So it's been a family thing in my blood for years, but was really great when I had my family and to go and fight fire with my family, plus my extended family, because these guys all supported me when I lost Doug and it's a big family. It's just an extended big family," said Todd-Davis.
Baxendale Volunteer Fire Department Chief Clint Loss says that Todd-Davis was the obvious choice for the position.
"She's always willing to jump in and go there. That can be exciting, but it's going to be good to have her on as a captain," said Loss.
And her son, Brady Beyers, wasn't surprised either.
"She's worked hard to do it," said Beyers, "She's been dedicated to this department for years. So I think it was a great honor for her to get it."