May 2 - 15, 2009 23
Family duties from Page 1
A dream come true
mostly opposite schedules so that one of them can be working order and ensures safety. She also drives the
Hedges, a police offi cer for
home with their 9-year-old son. fi re truck to calls, under a “Code 3” status with lights
11 years presently assigned
“The only times we see each other are Wednesdays, and siren activated. When on scene, her engineering
to undercover detective duty,
Thursdays and Fridays when I get off work for a few duties require that she use hydraulic calculations to
which is why her face can’t
hours. And then we get all day Saturday plus Sunday ensure the right fi re hoses have the right amount of
be shown in the photograph,
evenings together. We manage our time,” she explains. water coursing through them.
knew what she wanted to do at
This Mother’s Day brings various thoughts for Next, she performs paramedic duties on scene.
an early age.
Hedges. “Being on the fi re truck, I’m the fi rst-line medical
“When I was 6 years old, I
“It’s just that my son’s getting older. I’m having a they often see.”
told my mom I wanted to be
hard time with it. It’s like everything’s going by too Married to a Chandler fi refi ghter husband, they
a police offi cer one day, and I
quickly,” she refl ects. now have a 15-month-old daughter. The Vargos work
just stuck with it. All the shows
“Literally on the days off that I do have, all I want to the same schedule of 10 24-hour days per month,
on television back in the 1970s like ‘Police Woman’
do is just spend time with him.” followed by 20 days of together time.
and ‘Baretta’ were police-oriented, so it was very
“Our family has been very supportive in helping us
intriguing,” she shares.
Life in the fast lane with childcare.”
In high school, she volunteered at the police
Though Vargo had worked However, Vargo still fi nds the motherhood/career
department, and then earned her associate’s
as a marketing manager for balancing act diffi cult at times. “I like having the
degree in law enforcement and bachelor’s degree
a decade, the simple art of chance to spend 24 hours with my daughter, but the
in administration of justice from Southern Illinois
observation resulted in a 24 hours that I’m not with her are very diffi cult. I
career path change that left missed her rolling over for the fi rst time. That’s very
What she enjoys most about her job is making
her mother “a little shocked.” hard for me,” says Vargo, who is presently testing and
a difference in society, though she admits being a
Actually, Vargo’s radical studying an extra four to eight hours daily in pursuit of
Chandler fi refi ghter
female cop can sometimes be diffi cult. Suzy Vargo
job scene switch to fi refi ghter a fi re captain position.
“When you’re on patrol especially, if you’ve got a
was inspired by her brother, a “When I come home, my daughter’s all I want to
suspect, they automatically assume that the female’s
Valley fi refi ghter for 20 years. be around, all I want to see. It’s been very diffi cult not
going to be the weakest offi cer.”
“I got to see his work life and how he enjoyed being having that time with her.”
So Hedges must stand her ground.
at work, being with people whom he worked with. Being a relatively new mother, Vargo is not yet used
“If you even give a hint of being intimidated, you
Everyone had a great sense of humor. They just had to receiving Mother’s Day attention.
can get eaten alive out there.”
this real zest for life,” she recollects. “And, I like to be “It just seems rather surreal that it’s me, that I’m the
Meanwhile, Hedges’ family includes her husband,
challenged daily mentally and physically.” mom,” she concludes.
presently a Chandler police sergeant on patrol duty,
Now seven years into her new career, Vargo occupies
whom she met on the police force. The duo work
the engineer and paramedic roles on the truck. As
Sharon Schnakenburg is a freelance writer who can be reached
engineer, she makes sure the fi re equipment is in
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