Leslie Maes was promoted to Fire Chief of the Costilla Fire Department in February 2023. The appointment came after a recommendation by Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova. Maes has served as a volunteer firefighter for over 20 years. Chief Maes has actively served the communities of Costilla and Amalia since she was a teen but solidified her commitment to helping by joining the Amalia Volunteer Fire Department in 2000. She said she became a firefighter because she enjoys helping her community. Many know her to be passionate about building a safer community.
Fire Chief Maes is a combat veteran who served in the National Guard for 10 years. She was a part of the crew sent to Iraq in 2004 and served 18 months of active duty there. She is a graduate of Questa High School with deep family roots in this area. By day, she is a cattle rancher. Recently she has been working on getting a greenhouse up and running. Maes is also on the Rio Costilla Livestock Association Board of Directors.
Chief Maes shared her goals for herself in this new position. Her first priority will be to recruit more volunteers to the department. She hopes to find highly motivated individuals interested in helping our communities. Next, she would like to ensure the volunteers get plenty of training. Finally, she wants to continue working on a project started by the former Fire Chief, Lawrence Lovato to build a new fire station. Former Chief Lovato retired recently. Although he has served for over 50 years, he will continue to be a firefighter.
No leader can achieve great things without vision, and Chief Maes has one. Once she is settled in the position, she would like to find ways to get the communities more involved. She said that because the Costilla and Amalia Fire/EMS already work great together, she would like to see them collaborate to host community events like BBQs and horseshoe tournaments, events to bring some fun and camaraderie back into the small community.
There is no doubt there will be challenges she will face as Fire Chief, but those who know her are confident she will find a way to meet those challenges. She has never been afraid of hard work and getting her hands dirty to help others. The Costilla community is lucky to have a dedicated Fire Chief like Maes. The Questa del Rio News joins in congratulating Fire Chief Maes for stepping up in this leadership role to ensure community safety.