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Hundreds Attend “Pinning Ceremony” for County’s First Female Fire Chief

Hundreds Attend “Pinning Ceremony” for County’s First Female Fire Chief



Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, members of the County Council, representatives of public safety agencies, and public safety personnel attended the pinning ceremony for Christine M. Uhlhorn, who was selected by Ball in December to be the Chief of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.  Pinning ceremonies are a tradition in the fire service to acknowledge promotion to a higher rank.  Uhlhorn is the first female fire chief of Howard County.


“I am so humbled and so grateful to be here,” Chief Uhlhorn said.  “I never dreamed I would one day be in this position.”

“During a time of promotion, you think about past performance of excellence but also the future of excellence,” Ball said.  “Chief Uhlhorn epitomizes that.”

Chief Uhlhorn selected Deputy Chief Daniel G. Merson and her children to pin on her new chief’s insignia.  Merson, who served as interim chief, said “We’ve worked together for almost 30 years.  Her passion and desire to serve has continued throughout her career.”

Uhlhorn is a 29-year veteran of the Department and a third-generation firefighter. She rose through the ranks and was promoted to Assistant Chief in 2016. During her career, she served in various leadership roles and held positions as the Fire Officer Association president and Safe Kids Coordinator. Uhlhorn is passionate about equitable rights and was the president of the St. Florian’s Brigade, an organization whose mission is to attract young women into careers in the fire service.

The ceremony was held at the department’s new headquarters, located at 2201 Warwick Way in Marriottsville.

To see more pictures from the event go to the County's Flickr account at