When Christine Uhlhorn was in kindergarten and was asked to draw a picture of what she wanted to do when she grew up, she drew a firetruck.
“My family has over 250 years in the fire service,” said Uhlhorn, 50. “I never questioned it. There was nothing else I ever wanted to do.”
Uhlhorn, a third generation firefighter, was named Monday by County Executive Calvin Ball as the new fire chief of Howard County’s Department Fire and Rescue Services. She becomes the county’s first female career fire chief, and said she was “beyond humbled” to be chosen.
A lifelong Marylander who lives in Joppa, Uhlhorn began her career with Howard County in 1989 as a firefighter recruit and emergency medical technician working at Station 9, Long Reach. During her nearly 30-year career she moved up the ranks, serving in a variety of roles — including assistant fire chief for almost three years. She recalled that when deciding where she wanted to work, Howard County was her first choice — in part because of another trailblazer.
“It was because of Liz Bobo, the first female Howard County executive,” she said. “I felt I would have opportunities here, I felt it was a growing department and I would grow with it.” Ball, the county’s first black county executive, said he selected Uhlhorn as the new chief because she shares his vision for quality for all aspects of life in Howard County.