BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Each year we ask you to nominate a remarkable woman in your life to be recognized. The four finalists this year all have one thing in common, a selfless dedication to others.

The first of our four finalists is Nina Taylor. Taylor calls herself a natural helper, always wanting to nurture and show her love for others by example.

“The story from when I was a little child is just I wanted to be able to change the world. And that’s the one consistent thing that has remained the same, it’s just of how I was going to do it,” said Taylor. “As a little girl, I thought I was going to be this dashing doctor or this wonderful lawyer that was going to just change everything. And then as I became older and I realized in society that it’s helping the people that are directly around you, that actually cast that pebble into the lake that causes the ripples that change the actual world around you.”

The path Nina Taylor took wasn’t what 10-year-old Nina ever saw coming. She’s spent nearly two decades in the fire service. It’s given her the opportunity to change her community.

“I didn’t know at 10 that I would be surrounded by a bunch of men doing a job that most people would say is not for women, but it has given me a peace. I think that’s the best way to put it, a peace and a peek inside the lives of some of the most beautiful people I could have ever met in the whole wide world,” said Taylor.

A peek inside the homes of others, a catalyst to help those she serves in other ways. Building ramps for people who can’t leave their homes, waking up at 4 a.m. to cook and take Thanksgiving meals to those quarantined with COVID-19. Even her own home changed for the betterment of others.

“I remember buying my first home. I stayed in it, you know, for a few years and then it just didn’t feel like the home I should be in. It felt like a home that I should be giving back with,” said Taylor.

She enrolled to become a section-8 landlord, using her home to give her tenants the assistance they needed to move ahead in their lives.

“My last tenant, her name was Brittney, and Brittany walked in and she looked around and she said, ‘a house.’ And she looked down and she said, ‘and hardwood floors.’ and then I saw these two little girls walking in behind her, and I said, ‘what do you see yourself doing?’ and she said, ‘I want to become a nurse and an entrepreneur. I want to own my own business.’

Taylor continued, “I say, ‘have a seat’. She filled out the application and I asked her, ‘do you trust me?’ She said, ‘yes,’ ‘I need to go where you live.’ She said, ‘ok.’ I put her in the car. We drove to her apartment. It was seedy, wasn’t great at all. I looked over at these two little girls and I looked at this apartment complex and I was like, hmm,” she said. “And we walked in and I looked at her home and it was clean, you know, so she was really trying to make a home. I waved her application fee and told her she had the house right then and there. Under one condition… that she created a family, a nucleus, which means that she had to give the best for her girls.”

After three years, Brittney married, bought a house of her own, has a business and has made a home for her girls.

After nearly two decades serving others through fire and EMS and teaching the next generation about the fire service at Midfield High school, Taylor hopes to help a larger community by running for state office. But, her attention remains focused on others.

“I tell people, if you have a light or you have a candle and someone else has a candle, it doesn’t hurt to take your candle and light the other candle. And now both of you have a lit candle,” said Taylor. “So I tell people any time I come in contact with someone, if I am that light and this person doesn’t have that light, I’ll take the time out to light their candle so they can have a candle too.”

Taylor said she loves the fire service, but looks forward to the future when she can expand her service to others statewide.