For most of the people on this list, we had no problem finding stories that put them in a positive light. The exception was Debra Amesqua, Madison's fire chief since January 1996. Most of the pieces on her in our archives deal with the conspicuously harsh reception she received in the years after being named Madison's first female fire chief. The rank and file rose up against her, in ways that now seem overblown, and probably were at the time.
Amesqua survived all that, and now is so comfortably ingrained in the department she heads that we rarely write about her. She served as the first president of the Women Chief Fire Officers Association in 2004-05, and has drawn national notice for her work breaking down fire-service barriers for women and people of color. And - get this - she builds beautiful hand-crafted archtop mandolins.