Monday, May 21, 2018
Human Interest

From only girl on wrestling team to only woman on firefighting shift

The last time the Tampa Bay Times talked to Alix Lauer, she was 17 and the only female on her wrestling team at Northeast High School. She liked the physical challenge and camaraderie of the sport. Twelve years later, Lauer, 30, lives in Orlando and continues to challenge herself. She works as a paramedic and firefighter at the Orange County Fire Rescue Department and jumps out of planes in her free time. Wearing small pearl earrings, a sundress and her hair tied back in a gentle braid, the soft-spoken thrill-seeker who now prefers the nickname Lexi sat down with Floridian's Jessica Floum to talk about fixing muscle cars, getting firefighters to eat fish, and why she doesn't mind giving up some piercings for the sake of her career.

 

* * *

 

I've definitely had to be tough to learn to hang with the boys. I like pushing limits and pushing myself. I do things against the grain.

I'm like a girly girl and a tomboy. I like to get my nails done and hang out, but then I like working on cars.

I'm restoring a '68 Barracuda so I guess that's one of my other hobbies. That's my car. She's my baby. It was my dad's car and it's been passed down through the family.

I like to go shopping, decorating and dressing like a girl. Especially by the time I've worn a man uniform all day. At the end of a shift (at the fire station) I'm like: "I just want a sundress."

 

* * *

 

 

I'm actually afraid of heights, but you're so high up there that you don't even think about it.

The feeling. It's beautiful. I'm not stressed about anything else. If I'm having a bad day, it doesn't even matter. The endorphin rush, you're just smiling.

Most of the people I've dated since I started skydiving are sky divers. It's hard to explain: "Hey, I'm going to be gone for the weekend, jumping out of planes." It's nice to have someone you can share that with if you're going to spend all your free time doing that.

 

 

 

* * *

 

I had grown up dancing, and then in high school I took a break for sports. Then after high school, I got onto the dance company at St. Petersburg College, which is modern, ballet and some trapeze aerial work.

So I was with them for quite a few years, and then I realized there wasn't much retirement or much of a career in it, so I decided to do something completely different.

I went into medical. EMT and paramedic was the quickest way into the field. I found that Orange County Fire Rescue was hiring paramedics and putting them through fire academy so I was like, "Oh, sounds like fun, challenging and something that I'd like to do." So I tried it and ended up loving it too.

I like working under pressure, so there's a lot of times where you just don't know what to expect or things can change really quickly. It's a lot of problem solving on the go. I like that rush.

It was a lot of lifestyle change going to the fire department as far as you can't have any piercings. You can't dye your hair fun colors. I gave up a little bit of lifestyle, but I'm really happy with that. I guess I'd have to do that growing up anyway.

 

 

* * *

 

 

On my shift at my station, I'm the only girl. I do work with other women; it's just mostly men.

We like to joke around and give each other a hard time. A lot of the attitudes are the same (as the wrestling team). Everybody is down to earth and works hard. It's just that same camaraderie. I still like being on a team. We all have to work together.

I'm comfortable there. I like being out of my element. For the most part everybody is really accepting. There are still some people that have the good old boy attitude about the department, but they're all retiring. It's a dying breed.

They're like, "You're not going to be a pescatarian by the end of your time here." We have steak Fridays, and I actually have some of the guys eating salmon now.

 

 

??
     
 
Comments
I went through 'Jeopardy!' auditions in Tampa, and I have a few questions

I went through 'Jeopardy!' auditions in Tampa, and I have a few questions

TAMPA — What’s it like to audition for Jeopardy!? What kind of questions are you asked? What realms of trivia must you master? How deep into your life should you expect producers to dig? Can you keep your cool with the buzzer in your han...
Published: 05/18/18
Police: T.I. arrested outside his gated community in Atlanta

Police: T.I. arrested outside his gated community in Atlanta

Rapper T.I. was arrested in Georgia while trying to enter the gated community where he lives without a key, according to reports.T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., was charged with public drunkenness, simple assault and disorderly conduct ...
Published: 05/16/18
Yanny or Laurel: What do you hear?

Yanny or Laurel: What do you hear?

The next great internet debate is upon us, but this one requires your ears instead of your eyes.Do you hear Laurel or Yanni?That’s the defining question for the internet today as a four-second Twitter post went viral, attracting the attention of peop...
Published: 05/16/18
Pauley Perrette claims she endured ‘multiple physical attacks’ on ‘NCIS’: ‘Nothing is worth your safety’

Pauley Perrette claims she endured ‘multiple physical attacks’ on ‘NCIS’: ‘Nothing is worth your safety’

Pauley Perrette left the long-running CBS forensic show NCIS after 15 seasons last week under what was originally presented as a professional decision. On Twitter, however, she told a different story."I refused to go low, that’s why I’ve never told p...
Published: 05/15/18
Flags, farewells and Florida: Lynyrd Skynyrd goes deep on their controversial history

Flags, farewells and Florida: Lynyrd Skynyrd goes deep on their controversial history

ATLANTA — Johnny Van Zant swings his arms out wide, chopping the music to a halt. "Hold on, hold on, hold on," he says, turning to face the rest of Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Right there, it falls apart." The singer meets guitarists Gary Rossington and...
Updated one month ago
Neville Brothers saxophonist Charles Neville dead at 79

Neville Brothers saxophonist Charles Neville dead at 79

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans-born saxophone player Charles Neville has died at age 79. His career dated back to the 1950s and included gigs backing up B.B. King among others. But he was best known for three decades of performances with his siblings Aaro...
Updated one month ago
Meet the man who wrote ‘Conjunction Junction’ and other ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ songs that stick in your head

Meet the man who wrote ‘Conjunction Junction’ and other ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ songs that stick in your head

Anyone whose childhood began in or after the early 1970s probably knows at least one or two Schoolhouse Rock! songs, the ones that taught children multiplication tables, civics lessons and basic grammar. In fact, reading that sentence probably has yo...
Updated one month ago