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Hometown Heroes

The Importance of Community and Family Support through Difficult Times

Firefighter Jay Robinson

Jay Robinson is a Scottsdale firefighter with Wildfire Specialty Training. When fires hit the coast in California last year, Jay and his team were up to the task.

“Traveling to other states to assist with wildfires presents challenges because we are going to areas we don’t know and working in different climates and ever-changing conditions. Last year we went to Napa and witnessed the mass devastation – lives and property lost. We rescued a lot of people, and no one in our area lost their lives, so that was so rewarding,” he says.

After 22 years as a firefighter, Jay says helping those involved in tragic events is what keeps him going, and he feels privileged to train others to do the same.

“Scottsdale Fire Department is looked at nationally as a solid Wildfire Team. We have high standards in training and the ability to send crews out to help. It’s important to me that we can help other departments as well as citizens with our experience and knowledge.”

The holiday season, as well as wildfire season, takes Jay away from his fiancé, who is also a firefighter. The inability to communicate in dire situations can be stressful.

“She understands completely, but the hardest part is being away and not being able to communicate," he says. "I have been on numerous wildfires where I was off the grid, on top of a mountain or a burned area with no water trying to put the pieces back together. Luckily she knows the job and is supportive, which makes me feel so fortunate.”

Jay encourages local support of the Scottsdale Fire Department. He says it is beneficial to take CPR classes, go to Wildfire Seminars and stay involved with community workshops. 

“Our community is kind and loyal; it’s why I love my job and why I do it in Scottsdale.”

"The hardest part is being away and not being able to communicate. I have been on numerous wildfires where I was off the grid, on top of a mountain or a burned area with no water trying to put the pieces back together." –Firefighter Jay Robinson

Police Officer Brian Hartman

Former high school science teacher turned Scottsdale Police Officer Brian Hartman always knew that making a positive difference in the community was his calling. Now, as a resource officer at Coronado High School, he has fulfilled that destiny.

“Everyday I get to make connections and truly make a difference. Having that ongoing communication with the students and their families is a real joy,” he says.

Brian feels that being a police officer offers a unique coworker camaraderie due to the grueling hours and dependence on one another.

“I get to work with real people, you trust them and there is a solid core friendship that comes with our line of work,” he says.

Brian recognizes the hardships his job has had on his family but is fortunate that in his department there is flexibility and room to grow and change.

“It’s tough to balance family and work. I changed to my current position to allow me to coach my son’s teams, be at school events and be a team with my wife more.”

Brian and his family know that if something tragic happens, there is the possibility of working 24 to 36 hours in a row if needed. He says when he was newer to the force, he had an ah-ha moment about his career being all-encompassing.

“I had been an officer for six years before I didn’t have to work a holiday. My wife never complained, but that year I was able to attend her work holiday party. The excitement for her in knowing her coworkers would get to see and meet her spouse meant so much to me, and it made me realize how difficult this must be on her during holiday season. It put it into perspective for sure,” he says.

Brian says working in Scottsdale is such a blessing.

“People stop me at Starbucks to thank me. They contribute turkeys and baked goods at holiday time to the station. It sounds cheesy, but it’s so nice.”

Brian says he wouldn’t trade what he does for anything.

“This is what I was meant to do. I always respected police, and the interaction with others in my community makes it really awesome.”

“This is what I was meant to do. I always respected police, and the interaction with others in my community makes it really awesome.” –Police Officer Brian Hartman

Tammy Querrey, acute nurse practitioner and director of the Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital 

Tammy Querrey is what you call a utility player. Part nurse, part provider, part administrator, she wears a variety of hats at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital and the Abrazo Arrowhead campus.

Behind the scenes, Tammy works tirelessly to elevate the level of care for patients. She feels her work isn’t a job, but instead a commitment to a community.

In less than three years, Tammy has helped bring minimally invasive alternatives in open-heart surgery to the hospitals, created a nurse navigator program to ensure a smooth transition from the hospital to home for patients and helped drive a shift in Abrazo’s internal culture, where every decision is made with the best interest of patients in mind. 

“It takes a team. When I think of how much we’ve accomplished in just a few years, it’s rewarding to know that the work we’re doing today will help bring better patient outcomes in the future,” she says.

Tammy devotes most of her time spearheading efforts to build six Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. She also plays a big role in program development at the Abrazo Arrowhead Campus.

“When you’re passionate about the work you do, long days blend together in an exciting way as you focus on achieving your goals,” she says.

Tammy says the holiday season has made her especially grateful for what Arizona has to offer in the way of medical advancements. In five days abroad, she and other caregivers saw more than 800 patients and trained medical workers in establishing a sustainable model of care in India. Her mission to Brazil resulted in administration of cardiovascular care to 600 underserved residents.

Being on the front lines is something Tammy takes pride in. No matter the time restraints, she is always looking to bring new procedures to the market and renew Abrazo’s commitment to clinical research.

“When you’re passionate about the work you do, long days blend together in an exciting way as you focus on achieving your goals.” –Tammy Querrey, director at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital

Police Officer and United State National Guardsman Matt Figley

To meet Officer Matt Figley is to know him as a dedicated member of the SWAT Team and a patrol officer who cares deeply about his family and his community. When you hear about the sacrifices he and his family have made so he can serve overseas in the military at the age of 41, you realize you are in the presence of a local hero.

“I have been a police officer for 17 years and ended my active duty service with the United States Army in 2001 after serving nearly 10 years. I re-entered the army to serve with the Arizona National Guard. Despite deploying twice while on active duty, I am about to embark on my first deployment as a member of the Arizona National Guard. Unfortunately, due to operational security reasons, I can’t really say where I’m deploying to, but it is in the Middle East,” Matt says.

Matt is a decorated officer and military member, receiving the Top Shooter Award, placing in the top of national sniper competitions and earning the Law Enforcement Commendation Award. He also has quite a collection of company coins for gunnery in the military.

“These coins are given for going above and beyond. The person giving the coin will shake your hand with the coin in there and explain why they are giving it. Matt knows exactly where and why he got each of them, but he’s so humble that he won’t display them. Well, last year when he was on annual training, I bought a case to proudly display them in our home,”  says Nicole Figley, Matt's wife.

Matt believes everyone should serve the United States because it’s an honor. 

“When I broke contract while on active duty, it was the biggest regret of my life. I felt as if I had let America and my peers down. As a father and soldier, I can’t think of a better example to show my children than to always finish what they start, no matter how long it takes,” he says.

Although the sacrifice is great and Matt often has to miss holidays and special events, Nicole is unphased, as she sees the bigger picture.

“He’s my hero because he is very selfless. When he decided to go back into the National Guard, I could just see that he was in his element and back where he belonged. He’s so excited to finish what he started so long ago, and I can just see the pride he has when he puts on his uniform. I’ve seen him go out of his way to help make things easier for the citizens of his community. We are used to long hours and rescheduling of holidays. It takes a special person to risk their lives daily for complete strangers or to leave their family knowing there is a chance they won’t come home, but it’s who he is, and he’s amazing.”

"This day and age, too many people have forgotten the meaning of words like commitment, sacrifice and selfless service. If I could choose what my children were to learn from me and my service, it would be to have an unconditional love of country, honor and integrity." –National Guardsman Matt Figley

  • Firefighter Jay Robinson at a wildfire site.