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Jamie Rufolo

Jamie Rufolo is a woman on the move.

She has held 10 positions in 10 cities from coast to coast over 19 years at AT&T. Some moves have been for her own career growth. Most have been to follow her husband, U.S. Army Major Dennis Rufolo, to new military posts.

Her jobs here have taken her to 16 countries and 26 states. For the moment, the Rufolos are settled in Columbia, South Carolina.

"Military spouses build relationships really fast. It's a survival technique," Jamie said. "You don't waste any time jumping in and getting the lay of the land."

All those connections helped prepare Jamie for her most personally and professionally fulfilling role.

She now trains and supports our FirstNet consultant teams across 50 states and 6 territories. These teams are responsible for delivering lifesaving tools to America's first responders.

She also supports our sponsorship of Carry the Load, a non-profit serving first responders, military personnel and their families.

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Contagious passion and compassion

"Before marrying my husband, I was like a lot of Americans who don't have a loved one who's a first responder or who serves in the military," Jamie said. "I didn't realize the tremendous sacrifice it takes, the deployments, being away from family and friends, the constant change, the ever-present concern for a loved one's safety. I didn't understand the resiliency needed to hold up close friends through the loss of a spouse who has given his or her life in service. Carry the Load shares that message. It puts the honor back into Memorial Day. It provides a way to connect with others who understand."

And her compassion is obvious in every way, from her work at AT&T to how she talks about Carry the Load.

"The best part is seeing the impact that Carry the Load is having on our FirstNet team and our retail store employees," Jamie said.

"They've handed out refreshments to the walkers at over 60 fire and law enforcement stations along the routes. Many are jumping in and walking themselves. They've been moved by being a part of something so meaningful."

Jumping in and being part of something meaningful comes naturally to Jamie. But as she points out, many people want to do something to honor our military and first responders, but they often don't know what to do,

"Carry the Load is a way to get physically involved, to connect to the sacrifices others have made," she said. "And, with FirstNet, now we can tell first responders about something that can help them in return.

"It's a great feeling to know we're doing something that helps save lives."