Giving back is a value all of our personnel uphold through their daily work, but in special cases this virtue is twofold. In light of Veterans Day coming up on November 11, our Department would like to show appreciation for those who serve our local communities daily through the Fire Department and our country through their tireless work as members of the U.S. military.
“Both careers have allowed me to serve my community, whether on a local, state, national or worldwide level. It has allowed me to ‘give back’ for all the blessings I have been provided throughout my life,” says Fire Captain Tony Durán, HazMat coordinator at Fire Station 1. Duran, who retired from the Air Force in 1997 with 23 years of active duty service as a Chief Master Sergeant, the highest rank attainable by an enlisted member, has continued his military service since 2006 as a member of the California State Military Reserve, Air Wing.
Although Duran admits that fulfilling both service roles does present challenges, the moral benefit of protecting and serving his community in any capacity outweighs those drawbacks. Many of our public safety responders share the rewarding experience of serving their country and their community.
Ocean Lifeguard Michael S. Gavola, who has been in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves for over three years. He was activated and deployed for one of those years in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He agrees that the dual responsibility can be overwhelming at times but also motivating.
“Being able to make an impact in my local community daily and defending my country is the most rewarding,” says Gavola.
In honor of all the men and women who serve or have served in the branches of our U.S. military, our Department would like to formally recognize those individuals within our own organization who have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of their community and country.
Thank you for your superior service and commitment, Fire Captain Antonio E. Duran, Fire Captain Richard D. Mullen, Fire Captain Raymond L. Perez, Ocean Lifeguard Steven Acosta, Ocean Lifeguard Daniel Behrens, Ocean Lifeguard Scott T. Bender, Ocean Lifeguard Keith J. Benzer, Ocean Lifeguard Agustino Camello, Ocean Lifeguard Jim A. Darling, Ocean Lifeguard Don Elezar Garcia, Ocean Lifeguard Michael Gavola, Ocean Lifeguard Jordan Brett, Ocean Lifeguard John McGuire, Ocean Lifeguard Benjamin Miller, Ocean Lifeguard Damian Minicucci, Ocean Lifeguard Matthew F. Mohagen, Ocean Lifeguard Richard D. Neitz, Ocean Lifeguard Carlos Pena, Ocean Lifeguard Robb Raffaelli, Ocean Lifeguard Malcom A. Reid, Ocean Lifeguard Andres Sandoval, Ocean Lifeguard Benjamin Vail, Truck Driver Roderick D. Baker, Fire Fighter Andrei Mostovoj, Fire Fighter George H. Navarro, Jr., Fire Fighter Raul J. Salazar, Fire Fighter Jonathan B. Sleigh, Fire Fighter Thomas M. Thompson, Fire Fighter Josh DeJournett, Fire Fighter Rafael A. Ortiz, Fire Fighter Jason Siemen, Fire Fighter Scott A. Smith, Fire Fighter Robert Torres, Fire Fighter Glenn A. Wright, Fire Fighter Joel Cruz, Fire Fighter Michael Keeney, Fire Fighter Frank Loaiza, Fire Fighter Aaron Morris, Fire Fighter Clint A. Mosley, Fire Fighter Alejandro V. Palomino, Fire Fighter Eric S. Taylor, Fire Fighter Adam M. Vanhaaster, and Fire Fighter Specialist Mark A. Brown.
Editor’s Note: The Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs announces the addition of U.S. Vets, a one-stop service center for Los Angeles County military, veterans and their families. On Monday, November 10, at 10:30 a.m., the new service center will open at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall, 1st floor atrium, located at 1816 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. The move of U.S. VETS, a non-profit organization that provides housing, employment and counseling to veterans, brings together a network of service agencies providing collaborative and coordinated services under one roof. U.S. VETS is the final veterans service organization to make the move into the historic building, joining the already established American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and others. A news conference is scheduled at that time to make the public announcement. Veterans from all across the County will be in attendance, along with County leaders and representatives of organizations serving our military.