PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A woman working toward her goal of becoming a firefighter is steadfast in her commitment to achieving that objective.
Alyssa Martinez prepares and trains day after day at a gym in Port St. Lucie, pushing herself harder and farther.
She is a picture of determination.
"I took my first test two years ago, and I was so afraid [when] I walked in and could barely speak to the instructor that was standing there. I failed on the Stairmaster," Martinez said.
Some dreams evaporate in the face of fear and setback.
"I left hysterically crying, and I called my mom, and I said, 'There is something wrong with me. My legs are too short, my legs are too small. I can't do this,'" Martinez recalled.
She didn't believe that voice, not really. Martinez won't be denied her calling.
"My dream is to become a firefighter, firefighter paramedic," Martinez said.
Her workout routine is built around that fiercely pursued goal. She does exercises that literally take her breath away, time and again.
The routines simulate the work of a firefighter: hose drags, ladder raises, dragging a dummy up and down the gym floor. Weights are tossed into most routines to make them more realistic and exhausting.
"You have to have a gift to be there for someone on their worst day. I want to become a first-generation [firefighter] in my family. I want to set a path. I want to lead by example for my community," Martinez said.
She hopes her dream will be an inspiration for other women, whatever their goals.
"You can do it. If I can do it, you can do it. You must find the right mindset, a great coach, and you can do it," Martinez said.
She said over the weekend she passed her entry physical. Martinez said she is tired but elated.
The next step for her will be the start of the fire academy in August.
Martinez is on the journey to making a dream come true.