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CEDAR HILL, Mo. – Angie Stephens has been a firefighter for 18 years with the Cedar Hill Fire Department and loves it! She became interested in firefighting as a teen volunteer and joined the Cedar Hill Fire Department where she works 48-hour shifts while raising two boys.

“It challenges you physically, mentally, and it’s the trucks. You have to drive those big trucks and I like helping people,” she said.

Stephens says her fellow firefighter are more like family than co-workers.

“You always hear that firefighters are family-oriented and we are,” she said. “They’re my second family.”

Stephens was nominated by a close friend who says she is inspired by Angie’s willingness to support others around her. Stephens’ family goes through much more than most.

“A lot of people think that firefighting and police and EMS is all like hero stuff; like we’re going to go out and save the day,” Stephens said. “And I guess in some ways we are, but we also see a lot of tragic things. We see the worst of the worst sometimes.”

So to help her family, Stephens started a new program called Badge to Badge.

“My goal is to help my first responders,” she said. “They deal with these tragic things on a daily basis.”

The program provides education and resources to help first responders maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit. 

“If I can help one person then that’s fabulous because the suicide rate right now for first responders is way higher than even the line of duty deaths,” Stephens said. “My goal is to keep them from hitting rock bottom.”

The program is still a work in progress, growing through mostly word-of-mouth. It does take extra time on top of what she already does as a firefighter. Stephens gives credit to her supportive husband—who runs two businesses and is a great dad to their two boys—when she is working her shifts. 

The sacrifice, dedication, and desire to help others is what earned Angie Stephens this month’s Proud to Serve award from Brown and Brown Attorneys at Law. 

“It’s absolutely amazing. She’s a mom of two, a firefighter, and helped start this forum to help all first responders,” David Shulman, director of marketing for Brown & Brown, said.

Stephens was hesitant to receive the award.

“I’m not a spotlight person,” she said. “Just as long as I’m helping people; that’s what the most important thing is.”

If you would like to nominate a local first responder, active military, or veteran for our Proud to Serve Award, click here.