With a passion for helping others, particularly children, Melanie V. Kennedy first earned an associate degree from the Pennsylvania State University in 1976. From there, she completed firefighting training at Red Rocks Community College and certification as an advanced state instructor in CPR procedures and qualified medication administration personnel. In 1977, she became the first woman firefighter in Federal Heights, Colorado, a role she held until 1981, and also served the fire department as an emergency medical technician and first aid and CPR instructor. During this time, Ms. Kennedy joined Park County Public Health as the WIC director and early periodic screening diagnosis and treatment case manager.
For the next 14 years, Ms. Kennedy worked providing support for families on Medicaid who needed assistance regarding doctor’s appointments and other medical resources. In 1993, following nearly two decades of cultivating her expertise in caregiving and business operations, she founded the Eagles Nest Group Center, a nonprofit organization that provides day programs and residential care for medically fragile adults and children, and she continues to serve as the chief executive officer and president. They currently operate three residential homes, and Ms. Kennedy divides her attention between working directly with clients, handling organization finances, and writing various annual and crisis protocols for the state.
Ms. Kennedy was inspired to establish the Eagles Nest Group Center by her adopted son, who is disabled. The adoption process, which was very difficult and dragged on for five years, cemented her desire to be an advocate for disabled children and ensure that they are not neglected in foster care settings. She remains a staunch advocate for disabled children in schools and the community. Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Kennedy currently volunteers with Family Support Counseling in Colorado Springs, donates to the Life Bridge Food Pantry, and is a member of her local chamber of commerce.
Attributing much of her success to her persistence and determination, Ms. Kennedy also credits the strength of her Christian faith. Above everything, she considers the highlight of her career to be establishing the Eagles Nest Group Center, which was the first and only group home at the time to offer day programs for medically fragile individuals. Ms. Kennedy’s excellence led to her being named the Firefighter of the Year in Federal Heights as well as Host Home Family of the Year.