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6-Year-Old Girl Meets Her Hero, A Female Firefighter

PROSPER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - It's not everyday a child gets to meet his or her hero, but Friday, Oct. 29 that moment was made possible for one little girl from Prosper, Texas who has big goals of becoming a firefighter.

For years, Annabelle Turner has dreamed of this moment. Just ask her mom: "Ever since she could talk!" Aubrey Turner said. "Every time she would pass a firetruck she would comment on it."

The 6-year-old wanted to meet a female firefighter and she did.

Autumn Verhoef is Prosper Fire Rescue's only female firefighter who just a couple years ago changed careers. She left her job as a full-time ER nurse to become a firefighter. "When I was in the ER, I lived in a different town and in that particular town those firefighters and paramedics would bring me patients," she told KTVT-TV.

Annabelle Turner meets Prosper firefighter Autumn Verhoef. (Erin Jones - CBS 11)

As she learned more about what they did she realized being a fire fighter was her dream job.

According to The National Fire Protection Association, women make up less than 10% of the United States' Fire Service, but Verhoef said as society evolves she believes that percentage will be much higher. "I'm a mom," she said. "I have a 4-month-old son and because we now have the ability to take our kids to daycare, formula to feed our babies, pumping or whatever — 100 years ago we women didn't even have that possibility."

She also credits the help of her husband and her faith and hopes her story will inspire other women to get into firefighting.

One person she knows she can count on is Annabelle. "I'm going to practice being a firefighter every day!" Annabelle said.

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