by Kristen Kucharski
Photos by Mike Catuara
EMT, LOCAL MOM & SO MUCH MORE!
AURORA–Tammey was sick as a teenager and felt blessed to be surrounded by those who helped support her along the way. She always knew she wanted to give back somehow, so when she stumbled on an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Class in College, it was the perfect launch to a career she fell in love with as a first responder.
In 1995, she tested for a professional full-time Firefighter/Paramedic position at the City of Naperville and proceeded to work and eventually raise her two children as a single mom.
In January 2021, Tammey further challenged the promotional exam of Lieutenant, scoring number one out of 25 candidates, catapulting to her current title, Lieutenant of EMS.
As a 5’3”, 125 lb. female in a male dominant occupation, odds were against Tammey; however, she pursued everyday with positivity.
“If you try and fail, that does not make you a failure but a trier. If you never try, that is what makes you a failure,” she adds. “It takes courage and determination, but you might surprise yourself at what you really are capable of. Hard work does not see gender, size, age, color, or ethnicity.”
This has paid off for Tammey as she recently earned the George Winckler Award honoring her for exemplifying integrity, honesty, dedication, kindness, and heart.
“I felt humbled. I have been working for over four years on developing a culture change, procedures and policies for the Naperville Fire Department with the goal of bringing resiliency by promoting a healthy, positive and aggressive approach to healing properly after significant incidents and/or high stress incidents firefighters endure daily either professionally or personally.”
Tammey has garnered many other accolades over her 30-year career including Naperville Exchange Club: Firefighter of the Year 2002, Naperville Board of Fire and Police Commissioners: The Commissioner’s Award 2019, and Naperville Fire Department and Naperville Police Department: Medal of Valor 2019.
This inspiring woman still finds time to travel, workout, attend concerts, and spend time with family and friends. She is also actively pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Fire Service Administration and Psychology.