The Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) first female captain and first female assistant chief is retiring after 33 years of dedicated service to the department and the City of Murfreesboro.
Assistant Chief Kaye Jernigan began her career with MFRD in November 1988. She rose through the ranks as a firefighter, driver, captain, and assistant chief.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Jernigan said when asked about her retirement. “I can’t say that I’m ready to walk away from what I’m doing, but I can’t turn down the great opportunity MTSU has given me.”
Jernigan has been named Middle Tennessee State University Emergency Operations Manager. She starts her new job on Jan. 24.
“Through the years I’ve worked with so many great people,” Jernigan said. “The most important lesson I learned is that we are a family, and we took care of each other.”
Jernigan was honored at a retirement reception at MFRD Station 1 Tuesday afternoon.
“Station 1 is where I started and it was so much fun back then, I couldn’t believe we got paid to do this,” said Jernigan.
Jernigan has been a trailblazer for MFRD recently helping the department become the first fire department in the state of Tennessee to earn simultaneous Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) accreditation and Insurance Service Office (ISO) Class 1 rating.
“Chief Jernigan has been an invaluable member of MFRD,” said Chief Mark Foulks. “She led the department through its ISO 1 accreditation and many other major projects. We wish her the best in her new endeavor and look forward to working with her in her new role.”
Jernigan, a Murfreesboro native, is a graduate of Oakland High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Public Administration from MTSU.