Cookie Ketcham is the Program Manager for the Community Emergency Response Team program in Virginia Beach (VBCERT). Prior to joining the Virginia Beach Fire Department, Cookie had a varied career with many interesting jobs. She holds a Master’s degree in Education specializing in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Denver. For 12 years, she worked as a counselor for the Colorado State Youth Opportunity Center, the Job Corps program and the Work Incentive Program. After staying home to raise her two children for 10 years, she started working for the Jefferson County School system, teaching gifted talented students at two different elementary schools, producing all the curriculum. She was on the ski patrol for 8 years and was a ski instructor for 14 years including teaching disabled skiers. Cookie has been a soccer referee for 26 years and is a state level referee instructor and the Area Director of Referee Instruction for the Hampton Roads area.
In 1993, she moved to Richmond, VA to start the Richmond Kickers Professional Men’s Soccer team. The Kickers went on to win the first double national championship in the history of the United States, winning the league championship and the US Open Cup in 1995. In 1997, the team was sold and Cookie moved to West Palm Beach, Florida to start the Palm Beach Pumas Soccer Team and Academy. During this time she served on the Executive Committee for the United Soccer Leagues. She worked for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s department at the West Palm Beach International Airport before, during and after 9/11 and also worked as a Recreation Center Director for the City of West Palm Beach.
In order to be closer to her daughter and granddaughter, Cookie moved to Norfolk in November, 2003 and worked for the Special Events department of Parks and Recreation at the Sportsplex. In April, 2006, she became the Program Manager of the VBCERT program. During the time she has been the CERT Manager, the program has grown to over 800 volunteers ready to respond during times of disaster. She serves on the City of Virginia Beach Emergency Planning Committee, the Hampton Roads Citizen Corps Committee, is a member of the FEMA Region III Advisory Council, is co-chair of the Virginia Beach Citizen Corps Committee, is an adjunct instructor for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, is a Certified Volunteer Resource Manager and works very closely with the Life Safety Education department for the Fire Department. She was awarded the Commendation Unit Citation along with the rest of the Life Safety Department for their involvement with the fire safety show seen in all of the elementary schools grades K-3 as well as numerous preschools in the area. She also received the FEMA Region III “Together We Succeed” Award in conjunction with the Virginia Beach Medical Reserve Corps. Cookie’s favorite saying is “Another Day, Another Adventure!” She is a proud mom of a son and a daughter and grandmother of two.