First Responders: Teresa Burgess, Search and Rescue

    Meet Teresa Burgess, El Paso County Search and Rescue. A portrait of first responders, who give their best when the worst comes calling.

    First responders: Teresa Burgess, El Paso County Search and Rescue
    Photo by Aaron Anderson

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

    TERESA BURGESS
    Rescue Member
    El Paso County Search and Rescue

    ON THE JOB: Since 2005, volunteer

    BACKGROUND: Full-time job as program assistant, Child Development Center

    ON WHY SHE VOLUNTEERED: “My husband joined the team about a year before I did. It was something he always wanted to do, and he did. In the year before I joined, I got to know what they did. After a while I got envious. I’d be home cooking and cleaning, and he’d be off on a mission. It didn’t take too much to twist my arm to join.”

    ON THE COMMITMENT: “We’re on pagers on call 24/7. Family and work come first. Those who can, respond first. Not everyone can show up. We train four times a month. … It is a huge time commitment. We average 160 to 185 missions a year.”

    ON ONE OF HER TEAM’S TOUGHEST SAVES: “It was a very, very hard mission physically. There was a gentlemen that I guess was coming down off a high, who wandered into the woods. He called 911 and said his back was broke, his legs were broke. We found him in a very dense area with no easy access. He complained the whole way down. Called us names. ‘Why aren’t we down? Just take a left here.’ We understood he’s not all there. We tried our hardest to get him there safely. It took us a very long time to get him out.”

    ON HER PROUDEST MOMENTS: “Pretty much every time we save someone. Two times we actually brought someone back to life on the [Manitou] Incline. As a team, we’re all, like, ‘Yes!’ ”

    —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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