March 8th is International Women’s Day, and our HAIX® Connect archives are rich with stories of incredible women blazing trails. Today, we feature Lumberjill Martha King, Florida Firefighter Julie Dudley, Officer Gina Ibarra and Outdoorswoman Careena Landriault, also known as Alexis Outdoors.
Martha King has spent most of her life around trees. From the first time she picked up an axe at Penn State to becoming World Champion at the Inaugural Timbersports Women’s International Cup, King knows she is standing on the shoulders—and walking on the sawdust—of the lumberjills that came before her. And she wants nothing more than to keep that trajectory going. “I really think the sky’s the limit,” says King. “If we can help everybody work together, I think the sport will really succeed.” King brought home the crown in the all-female competition held in Vienna Austria in 2022, and spends her days as an Arborist. Her advice to rookies in Timbersports is to invest in good gear—sharp axes, saws and footwear. “I freaking love HAIX boots,” says King. “I’m normally putting like eight miles per day on my boots [as an arborist,] and other brands would wear out so fast, but HAIX are super comfortable and hardworking. My HAIX Protector Ultras have proven to be incredibly capable and comfortable, they are super robust boots with great safety features so I can cut with confidence all day long.”
Firefighter Julie Dudley
Julie Dudley might be a grandmother, but don’t let that fool you. A 21-year veteran of the Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue, Julie spends her shift days checking out vehicles and equipment, running fire or EMS calls, completing assigned training, physical fitness training, studying, and anything else needing to be done. Her hobbies include CrossFit, paddle boarding, shooting, cooking or anything active and outdoors. On her off days, she normally paddleboards, spends time with her kids, works out, or goes to the range for shooting practice. She was the second oldest competitor to date on the television show “The Titan Games”, hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and though she was beaten out in the second round, she would proudly do it again, just to prove you can be fit at any age. Julie put herself through EMT, Paramedic and the Fire Academy while raising two kids on her own. Despite her impressive resume, she considers her greatest accomplishment to be her two grown children. “They are both kind, intelligent, beautiful, good souls.” To quote Julie, women who desire to become firefighters should “never stop learning, never become complacent, be the hardest worker in the room [and] be the firefighter you want showing up at your door.” Now that’s worth celebrating!
Careena Landriault, better known by her YouTube channel title Alexis Outdoors, loves sharing her outdoor adventures with the world. In an interview with HAIX®, Careena credited growing up near the Gatineau Hills in Quebec, Canada with her love of nature. Though she often explores nature on her own (and with her dog Grizz), she considers herself more of a social person. She shares her videos on YouTube and among her friends to raise awareness of the outdoors for those that don’t have the opportunity to experience it for themselves. However, her advocacy and adventuring aren’t just for fun. She knows that “in the end, the more people who appreciate our wild spaces, the more protected these spaces will become.” Outdoor education, along with a love for nature, is what she is trying to share with anyone who will listen. Along with a knife, a good tarp, a fire-starter, and a down-jacket, Careena lists her HAIX® Scout 2.0 hiking boots among her “must-have” items for exploring the outdoors. You can learn more about Careena and check out her videos on her YouTube channel.
Officer Gina Ibarra always dreamed of being a K9 handler with Chicago Police Department. But the process of achieving this goal wasn’t easy. To be accepted into the K9 program, she had to take a test, undergo a physical exam, and go through an interview process - and she had to get high scores every step of the way while competing with dozens of other officers in one of the largest police departments in the country. “From the beginning, my chances of getting in [the K9 program] were very slim,” Officer Ibarra explained. “So, I just made it a point to work really hard and get to this point in my career.” So she did. After ten years of waiting, she was offered a position with an explosive detection K9 named Rozi. Now, the partnership between Officer Ibarra and Rozi extends beyond the field—where she relies on her Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX boots--and into the digital landscape, where Rozi has developed an Instagram following of over 21,000. “Before I knew it, I woke up and there’s like 1,000 followers, and then 2,000 followers and then 3,000 and I was like what was going on?” Officer Ibarra said. “It just completely caught me off guard, I just never expected to make friends and meet other handlers and police officers and just regular people from all over the world.” And this network of support has benefited Officer Ibarra more than she could have hoped. “It’s amazing to have those connections across the United States because sometimes in Chicago we’re so busy and there’s so much going on in this huge city that you don’t have other officers that are going to be able to calm you down because everybody’s on level ten,” she stated. “So, to have officers in other states that know what you’re going through, but are not at level ten at that moment, means a lot.” Officer Ibarra continues to document her adventures with K9 Rozi and Woody on social media, especially on Instagram. The new daily content features a little bit of everything - from time on duty to playing at home. You can follow K9 Rozi here.