Montevallo’s first Touch-A-Truck event to highlight careers in public safety

Published 12:40 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – As a child, Kay Goke never thought being a firefighter was an option for her.

Now, Goke is on a mission to make sure children see people like her and know they can be anything they want to be, including a firefighter.

“Growing up, I never saw a female firefighter, ever,” Goke said. “I never knew that it was even an option.”

Goke has a military background and eventually started working in the financial industry, where she still works in a full-time capacity. She joined Montevallo Fire in July 2021.

Recently, Goke and a local author named Cori Heath were introduced through a mutual friend who happens to be a Montevallo police officer. They quickly realized how much they had in common.

“We instantly connected due to our shared life goals of empowering children to fearlessly pursue their dreams,” Heath said. “As someone who has always challenged stereotypes, particularly as a woman, my passion lies in empowering all children to embrace their God-given talents and pursue their dreams.”

Goke said Heath gave a copy of her children’s book, “Kate Saves the Day,” to her and asked if Goke would answer a few questions about her experiences.

Heath shared Goke’s responses and a picture of her standing next to a fire truck, holding the book.

“My aspiration is for anyone who reads ‘Kate Saves the Day,’ whether they are parents, teachers or children themselves, to be reminded of the unique purpose each of us holds in life,” Heath said. “I want to encourage kids to embrace their calling and chase their dreams fearlessly.”

This summer, Goke started working on plans for a new outreach event that she hopes will inspire young people to pursue their goals with an open mind and optimistic attitude.

“We want all children to know that they can do anything they want,” Goke said. “Your career options are not limited.”

To this end, Goke and her colleagues at the Montevallo Fire Department are partnering with Parnell Memorial Library and the entities that make up the Montevallo Public Safety Coalition—Montevallo Police Department, Impact Montevallo and Montevallo Main Street—to hold Montevallo’s inaugural Touch-A-Truck & Read-A-Book: Empowering Dreams for Careers in Public Safety event featuring Heath’s “Kate Saves the Day” book.

The event, which also will feature local first responders from Montevallo and surrounding communities, is set for Thursday, Nov. 2 from 4-6 p.m. at Parnell Memorial Library.

Heath will be present at the Touch-A-Truck & Read-A-Book event, too.

“I am incredibly thrilled to collaborate with our community’s first responders and create awareness among our future community leaders and servants,” Heath said.

“Kate Saves the Day” can be found on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats:

Goke said any public safety agencies outside of Montevallo that would like to participate in the Touch-A-Truck & Read-A-Book event on Nov. 2 should contact her at

Working with the fire department has been an unexpected blessing, Goke said, due in large part to the positive environment her fellow firefighters and the department’s leadership have created.

“This place is so special,” Goke said, noting Montevallo’s fire department consists mostly of volunteers. “They are people who are not being paid to be here because they love the town.”

Goke said she hopes her path to becoming involved with the fire service inspires anyone who wonders whether they should take a risk and follow their dreams.

Her message, echoed by the story in Heath’s book, is simple: “You can do it.”

“Whatever challenges that you face can be overcome,” Goke said. “I know that I will never be the best firefighter/EMT, but maybe I will inspire someone that will. Whether that’s a little boy or little girl, the sooner you figure out what your true passion is, the better off you’re going to be.”