Columbia Southern University fire administration faculty members recently selected Bend (Oregon) Fire & Rescue deputy Chief Trish Connolly as its 2021 Outstanding Fire Service Professional of the Year.
Connolly, who graduated earlier this year with a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in emergency services management from the university, has been with the fire department for more than 20 years. She is Bend Fire & Rescue’s first female fire officer and coincidentally, the first female fire officer to receive this award from CSU.
“The education and information I learned from the program directly relates to my position,” she said. “It has helped me have a better understanding of the city budgeting process as well as the development of public policy.”
This year’s runner-up is Glen Guarin, fire marshal for Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He also completed his bachelor’s degree in fire administration earlier this year.
Guarin, who has worked diligently to lower community risk reductions, created a social media movement and information hub called “Cold Night Okaloosa,” dedicated to helping homeless people find shelter and connect with resources. In 2018, he organized an event called “Give Where You Live” to help volunteers find organizations that needed help.
Connolly, who began her career as a wildland firefighter, worked her way up the ranks to become a chief leading officer at her department. She has served as president of the firefighters’ union, graduated from the Executive Fire Officer program, addressed many conferences, mentored many others in the fire service and is a past recipient of a national Women in Fire scholarship.
The Outstanding Fire Service Professional of the Year award was established as part of National Fire Prevention Month and to recognize CSU fire service students and graduates for their commitment to fire safety, professionalism and their accomplishments in the industry.