First Responders: Jayme McConnellogue, CSFD

Meet Jayme McConnellogue, battalion chief for the Colorado Springs Fire Department. A portrait of first responders and Colorado Springs local heroes.

Meet a handful of first responders, representatives of the thousands in our community who give their best when the worst comes calling.

Battalion Chief
Colorado Springs Fire Department

ON THE JOB: Since 1998

BACKGROUND: Was pursuing a degree in accounting when she was encouraged to become a firefighter by friends in the Police Department

ON WHY SHE BECAME A FIREFIGHTER: “I had been interested in firefighters since I was young. I was so enamored with the fire engine, I’d tell my mom to follow them when we saw them. But I didn’t see any women doing it, so it didn’t seem an option for me.”

ON BEING A WOMAN IN A MAN’S WORLD: “I knew coming into this that I was a minority. I knew there was going to be an expectation for me to prove that I can perform my job. That’s as it should be. I put a high expectation on me. They didn’t. They just wanted me to do my job. I wanted to go above and beyond.”

ON DIFFICULT CALLS: “One of the first was a 15-month-old drowned in a bathtub. … I was very emotional. My mentor took me by the shoulders and said, ‘That feeling you have? Don’t let it go because it’s compassion. You should feel this way.’ … He made it OK for me to maintain my compassion.”

ON MAKING IT THROUGH: “I would get done with the [Fire] Academy and have to get home at night and still had dinner and baths and school work that had to do with my three kids. And then studying because I didn’t bring medical or fire experience with me. My kids were my inspiration.”

ON GRATITUDE: “It’s not about the thanks and praise. It’s still amazing to me when I drive into work: I’m just going in to make someone’s bad day better. That’s what I’m paid for.”

—T.D. Mobley-Martinez. Photography by Aaron Anderson.

Read all five portraits of first responders. Watch the behind the scenes video. See different photographs in the Spring 2016 print issue.

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