One Small Voice
by Laura McGaffey
Articles originally published in "The Voice in the Desert"

Many Hats
Brenda Leon

October 2004

Click for larger view

Since "9/11" we have all become more aware of the critical role of the firefighters in our communities. We realize more than ever just how much they contribute to our welfare, both in saving our homes and businesses from destruction and caring for us during medical emergencies.

Recently, I spoke with Brenda Leon, a Firefighter/EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) with the Sunsites-Pearce Fire Department. Brenda has lived in our community for ten years. Like most employees of a modern fire department, she wears many hats - Firefighter, EMT, Dispatcher.

Brenda was born in Mt. Vernon, Washington in 1950 and grew up there. After the birth of her first two children, she moved to Utah, where she had her third child, before coming to Arizona. Always active and involved in one project or another, every year she donned her 4H Leader hat for her children and their friends. Now, at an amazingly energetic 54, Brenda has seven grandchildren.

While still in high school Brenda volunteered as a "gray lady" at a mental hospital. Later, as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), she worked in retirement centers and nursing homes. She often worked the holidays so she could cheer residents who felt cooped up and upset about not being able to go out shopping and to parties with family and friends.

As a CNA she dedicated 27 years to the specialized care of the older patient. Then she tried retirement here in rural Arizona but, fortunately for us all, she instead started a new career in emergency services.

For the past five years Brenda has also donned the Administrator's hat at the Singletree Inn as the manager and accountant of the popular local pizza parlour.

Brenda is a versatile, talented, and experienced self-starter and leader. She is currently running for the position of Secretary/Treasurer of the Sunsites-Pearce Fire Department. She is a highly respected member of the Department - when she had to leave the department for awhile, Chief Howard asked her to come back. Her coworkers all have nothing but the highest regard for her. She is a mentor to new EMTs and firefighters. Add to that her many years of experience in management and accounting and you couldn't ask for a better candidate for Secretary/Treasurer of the Sunsites-Pearce Fire Department.