Theresa Purtell retired from the Seattle Fire Department in 2016 after 36 years of service. In 2016, she was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council. In 2019, Purtell was the recipient of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) Elsie Schrader award recognizing outstanding achievement within the labor movement. Long an active member of Local 27 Seattle, Purtell was elected to the WSCFF Executive Board in 2004 to represent the 11th District. She chairs the WSCFF Benevolent Fund Scholarship Committee.