Jim Sharp, Fire Chief, West Pierce Fire & Rescue
When Colleen Adler started out as a 9-1-1 dispatcher at Fire Comm I doubt she had any idea where her career would take her. She has actually made a couple of careers for herself at West Pierce Fire & Rescue. Sadly for us it is coming to a close on April 30th. Fortunately for Colleen this means more time with her family, especially her grandbabies.
After close to 20 years as a dispatcher with Fire Comm, Coleen decided to take on a new, and very different challenge. “New” being the key word. The department was looking to start an Emergency Preparedness program, and Colleen stepped up and offered to run it. Colleen didn’t have much experience in emergency preparedness, but what she did have was an overabundance of energy and drive. So with that, she was hired as West Pierce Fire & Rescue’s first Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. Fire Chief Ken Sharp gave her some very vague marching orders like “go and make the community safer.” And as they say, the rest is history.
Starting from scratch, Colleen has gone on to build an emergency preparedness program that has been recognized at both the state and national level. Most notably, receiving an award from the White House and speaking about our programs to a panel of nationally recognized emergency management professionals in Washington D. C. In just a few short years, Colleen has trained and mobilized hundreds of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members throughout the community. It seems like every time I turn around I run into someone that has recently completed CERT training with West Pierce Fire & Rescue.
Colleen certainly hasn’t fallen short on that vague directive to “go out and make the community safer.” As West Pierce Fire & Rescue’s first Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Colleen has set the bar extremely high for her successor. The excitement, passion and energy she brings to the job everyday will be greatly missed. Especially all those friendly reminders to get our disaster kits ready.
Enjoy your retirement Colleen!