HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — In this week’s “First Responder Friday,” we introduce you to Capt. Christine Berry with Horry County Fire Rescue.

“I wanted to do something that I felt like every day would give back to the community,” Berry said.

And that’s exactly what her job entails. Twenty-two and a half years dedicated to Horry County Fire Rescue.

“I became an EMY and started working with E911 and then transitioned over to Horry County EMS,” she said. “Then in 2000 when it merged, I came over and became a fireman.”

Berry was a fireman for about 13 years before she wanted to seek a promotion. She became an engine and ladder truck driver and also went through rescue training to be certified in things like hazardous material, high-angle rescue and trench rescue.

“And then it was time to take that next step and become a lieutenant,” Berry said. “After a few years of doing that, I decided to test for promotion to captain and that’s probably where I’ll finish my career.”

With almost 23 years in the field, Berry has more memories than she can count. Perhaps the most unforgettable is the Highway 31 wildfire in Barefoot Landing. It’s the second-largest fire in state history. It burned more than 19,000 acres, destroyed 76 homes and damaged 97 others. 

“It definitely was the whole community. Near and far, we had people coming from out of state to help us,” Berry said. “It was a couple of weeks, an insane couple weeks of fighting that fire.”

And with such intense calls, some even life or death, Berry said that’s the most challenging part of the job; seeing people on their worst days.

“We wanna be the people that come and help and we always want a good outcome, and sometimes it’s not,” she said. “So trying to go home and be with our families and go back into normal life, it can get, it can get tough.”

But a strong support system both at, and outside of work, is what helps separate herself from those difficult situations.

“If we have calls that bother us or things that, we talk, laugh, make inappropriate jokes, you know, we do those kinds of things to get our minds off of it,” Berry said. “But every day when I go home, I can say every day that I feel like I’ve done something.”

If you’d like to nominate someone for First Responder Friday, send us an email at news@wbtw.com.