Jeffersonville firefighter named Indiana Firefighter of the Year

Sep. 19—JEFFERSONVILLE — The walls of Jeffersonville Fire Department 1 are very familiar to this year's Indiana Fire Chiefs Association Firefighter of the Year.

That's because Private Andrew Conlen, 36, grew up going to the firehouse at the corner of Wall and East 8th streets.

Conlen received the award at the Indiana Emergency Response Conference in Indianapolis.

Andrew has been with the department for the past seven years and spent time as a first responder with New Chapel EMS in the years prior.

His father, Tim Conlen, was a Jeffersonville firefighter for more than 35 years.

"He was very proud of me," he said about his father after he won the award. Andrew said one of his goals is to be with JFD as long as his father, who is now retired, was.

"(Growing up) I'd come in and get to ride out with the guys, when I got hired a lot of the guys that were still on worked with my dad, and it was them taking me under their wing," Andrew said. "My captain, who is one of our deputy chiefs now, when he was a probationary fire officer, my dad was his captain."

Andrew got a letter in the mail a while back that told him he was nominated for the award. After he won he was invited to the awards ceremony in Indianapolis.

Being a member of JFD is a dream come true for him, but it's not the only thing he does to help the community.

"(One of the) big things I do is the WHAS Crusade for Children," he said. "I'm one of the coordinators for that. I also serve as the logistic section chief for Thunder Over Louisville, so that's really big for us."

Along with his father being a first responder, his wife Megan Conlen is a supervisor with Clark County 911.

Andrew is also a member of Indiana Task Force One, a group of first responders who help people dealing with natural disasters.

He hasn't been called to go to an event just yet, but he's helped here at home by packing boxes in planes that were sent to Maui after the wildfires.

"I'm also on with our county EMA as well as logistics coordinator. Through them and through all my FEMA training and everything else, I've been involved with Jeffersonville Fire task force (and joining) Indiana Task Force One has always been up there and in my mind," he said. "'s an elite group of guys, we are another extended family. We are used to going out and helping people and everyone is like-minded."

Conlen said the fire department helps people out for all sorts of runs and he remembers being called to a large fire at 1021 East Market Street last year around Christmas.

According to News and Tribune archives about 24 people were displaced in the fire.

Luckily, everyone who lived in the complex survived.

Jeffersonville Fire Chief Shawn Grant said he was "blown away" when he got word that Andrew won the award.

"There's 92 guys here, but Andy is an extraordinarily awesome guy and I am really proud of him," Grant said. "They couldn't have given it to a better person, as far as I'm concerned."

He said he recently gave Megan the Chief's award for the work she does helping with the Crusade for Children, and as parents of their two kids.

"They are an extraordinarily awesome family," Grant said.