West Harrison alum Allanah Turner: From the basketball court to the Fire House
We’re going to jump back in time for this week’s Student Athlete of the Week and feature a former Coast athlete who has made an impact on the community, not only on the basketball court, but also in the fire house.
West Harrison alum Allanah Turner dominated the hardwood and the track during her time as a Lady Cane.
She was a two-time region 8, 5A offensive player of the year after averaging 18 points a game her junior and senior seasons, was a three-time West Harrison MVP, and helped the Lady Canes to the school’s first girls track state championship in 2017.
Fast-forward four years and Turner is making history in the Gulfport community all over again.
Whether it’s being on fire beyond the arc or putting out the fires and saving others, Allanah Turner has never backed down from a challenge.
After graduating from West Harrison in 2019, the state champion sprinter had the opportunity to run track at Mississippi State, she turned the offer down to play basketball at Pearl River Community College. “People always feel that I perfected my craft in track– and that may be the most inappropriate thing to say, but I got an offer from State for track and wanted to pursue that for basketball too– wanted to get to that level for basketball as well.”
After two seasons with the Wildcats, Turner closed the chapter on her athletic career and went in search of a new challenge. “I’ve always been a servant of God, my family, the community. So, I’ve always wanted to do it. I always knew I wanted to serve my community in a way. I never knew what way I wanted to.”
In the summer of 2021, Turner found her way to give back. The 20-year-old spent 12 weeks in GFD’s academy during which Chief Billy Kelly says Turner didn’t just hold her own, she thrived. “I’m 135lbs soaking wet. So just going through the academy it was like if you have it here and you have it here, no one can tell you otherwise. So, you have 230-pound men, 250 and up and they’re doing it, so I know I can do it.”
It wasn’t until September 28th, her graduation day, that Turner found out she had become Gulfport’s first black female firefighter ever.
While the Gulfport native recognized the significance of her historic accomplishment and the impact it may have on young black girls looking up to her, Turner prefers to let it speak for itself.
As for the transition from athlete to firefighter, this is Turner’s favorite part. “All of it. Serving my community. Working with the guys. All of it is just my favorite part. It’s an amazing job, amazing department. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”