Committed, talented, hard worker, dedicated teacher, and energetic are all phrases that could be used to describe Tessie Adams. It also explains why she was selected by members of the association to be the representative of Multnomah County Fire District #14 for Oregon’s Firefighter of the Year.
Since Tessie joined the department in Sept. 2003, she has been a committed volunteer. She has earned her NFPA Firefighter 1, NFPA Driver, NFPA Pump Operator, First Responder Operation, Wildland Interface Firefighter, and NFPA Fire Instructor 1.
Additionally, she is active in several of the community functions that the Fire Department sponsors. She has helped out with our Scholarship Breakfast, educational visits to the grade schools, and worked with the personnel in the schools as a liaison to the Fire Department to make sure that kids in the schools, who have special medical issues, receive proper medical care when the school calls 911. As a result we have had parents come to the Fire Department’s weekly training sessions to tearfully express their gratitude for the care their children receive when the Fire Department responded to the school to deal with their child.
The Fire Department is fortunate that we can benefit from Tessie’s background of working as a paramedic for AMR and eight years at Life Flight. In the past year Tessie worked with Mt Hood Community College to facilitate the arrangement for a class that would allow EMTs to advance to the Intermediate Level. Not only did our department benefit from this arrangement, but the Sandy and Estacada Fire Departments each enrolled students in this class. Recently, ten students (Corbett 5 students, Sandy 4 students, Estacada 1 student) finished the requirements for the Intermediate Level for EMS care. Because of Tessie’s superb and energized teaching, the entire class managed to successfully complete this rigorous class that is over 300 class hours long.
Currently, Tessie is EMS Officer for Multnomah County Rural Fire District #14, with the rank of Captain. She is an EMS instructor for Mid-Columbia Community College, as well as a part time school bus driver for the Corbett School District. As the mother of two young children, she also volunteers time at the school.
Tessie is not the type of teacher who simply teaches the theory in the classroom and does not put her knowledge to use at the emergency scene. Even though the statistics show that she responded to 47 calls in 2016. One has to keep in mind that she lives close to a rural station that gets few calls. To deal with this, Tessie then drives almost eight miles to the main station to respond to emergencies. This has been extremely helpful in dealing with high angle rescue calls in the Columbia River Scenic Gorge. On the trails of the Gorge, she successfully navigates the steep, icy and wet trails to bring paramedic care to seriously injured climbers.
Not only does our department by their vote show appreciation of Tessie’s efforts, but Fire Chief Dave Flood realizes her contributions to the entire department. Chief Flood says, “Tessie brings an infectious passion to the classroom, to the firefighters, and to the department with her enthusiasm. This explains why we got all five of our firefighters to complete the long and rigorous Intermediate Class”.
Tessie not only benefits the members of our department, but her presence in the community benefits the kids (and their parents) in the schools, as well as the members of our surrounding Fire Departments. We are lucky to have Tessie as a member and the OVFA would make an outstanding choice by selecting her as Oregon Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.
President of the Multnomah County RFPD#14 Volunteer Firefighter Association