BOARD OF DIRECTORS & STAFF
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Why SDFRA: Because it's unlike any other Fire Department group. The goal is to help in times of need and not worry about political issues. We look out for our brothers and sisters who sometimes just need a helping hand.
Person who inspires you the most: My grandfather, he always has a heart for helping others and sticking up for what is right. He loves my grandmother, our family, and his friends with all his heart.
How do you give back: I volunteer with the San Diego Fire Cadet program as an advisor. I help show high school kids what the job of Firefighting is all about. They participate in ride alongs, drills, and a weeklong academy during the summer.
Tell us something about yourself: I’m just getting into woodworking, I really enjoy the challenge of it, and have made a few of the furniture pieces in my house, just don’t look at them too closely.
Hometown: Hacienda Heights, CA
Why FFA: I have been involved in the fire community my whole career, so in retirement, FFA is a great fit.
A person who inspires you the most: My Father, Jose M. Garcia. He immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1926 with his brother Thomas. I am so grateful for all of his hard work and sacrifice. It gave me the ability to accomplish so much and make a great life for his grandchildren.
How do you give back: I am an advocate for the Retirees and their Families.
Tell us something about yourself: Married 37 years to my wife, Jolee, I have 3 children and a grandbaby girl on the way. I retired after 31 years on the San Diego Fire Department.
Hometown: Born and raised in San Diego, CA
Why SDFRA: I love to help people when they are in a time of need. What better way to help our fire family and their families during their time of need.
Person who inspires you the most: My 102-year-old grandma who lives in Escondido. She has always had the best outlook on life. She says, "you can't always control what happens to you, but you can control the way you respond to it. It's about your attitude and sometimes things are just an 'oh-weller'."
How do you give back: I would love to have more time to formally volunteer, but as of now I just try to bring a positive vibe, a bright smile, and an open ear to anyone who wants it.
Something about myself: I have been married to Micah for nine years and we have a seven-year-old son named Evan. I love to be outside, travel, and enjoy time with friends and family.
Retired Board Director
Hometown: San Diego,CA
Why SDFRA: Over the years I have worked with the FFA both in my capacity with the department and also in personal times of need. In each instance, I was struck by the unique and special role this organization plays in supporting the firefighter family. Now retired and an empty nester, I have the time and capacity to serve in this important organization.
Person who inspires you the most: My Mom. She is an amazing individual who has dedicated her life to serving others. As a wife and mother of firefighters, she is a die-hard supporter of the fire family along with being an incredible mom and grandmother!
How do you give back: Through my church and other support groups I try to give back some of the incredible blessings I have been provided.
Tell us something about yourself: I served over 33 years with SDFD and was fortunate to work in many different areas but my greatest accomplishment is my family. The smartest thing I ever did was marry my wife Erin 28 years ago. The most difficult thing I ever did was to then proceed to have 4 children in the first 5 years of the marriage!
Active Board Director
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
Why SDFRA: After having to reach out to this organization for help during my time of need, I saw the quality of board members and their deep desire to help any member of our fire family. I knew then if given the chance I wanted to be a part of an organization like that.
Person who inspires you the most: My father. A man who grew up during very hard times in his grandmother's boarding house. He became a successful self-made man through hard work. Throughout his life, he was always guided by his principles and his moral compass. His whole life he was very excepting of others' beliefs and backgrounds, this was in a time and place that many were not. He always placed family and friends first. He continues to be an example for me and my children to live up to.
How do you give back: I mentor firefighters with cancer through the Firefighter cancer support network.
Tell us something about yourself: I love surfing as often as I can. I love an afternoon espresso and checking out different craft breweries here in San Diego.
Active Board Director
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Why SDFRA: The Relief Association helps in so many ways already, but what drew me to it was the endless possibilities to provide aid to our fire department brothers and sisters. The Relief staff is motivated and selfless and is an overall great organization I’m so proud and humbled to be a part of.
Person who inspires you the most: My wife Lisa. She inspires me with her work ethic as a second-grade teacher, but even more so by the way she is so kind and caring to everyone she interacts with.
How do you give back: I currently give back to the SDFD Cadet Program as a battalion advisor. I’ve worked with the Relief Association for the past few years at the 9/11 Stair Climb. I’m excited to be a part of future events and volunteer opportunities.
Tell us something about yourself: I enjoy surfing, boxing, welding, and doing projects around the house.
Active Board Diretor
Hometown: Born and raised in Normal, Illinois
Why FFA: FirefighterAid has no other mission than to help those in need, separate from politics and red tape, and I can’t think of a better or more simple cause to support than this one.
Person Who Inspires You the Most: My mom. She suffered a traumatic stroke when she was 19 and lost the ability to use her dominant arm. Despite this, she still managed to raise 3 kids well without letting her disability get in the way or define her.
How Do You Give Back: I give back through programs like the Girls Empowerment Camp to help girls achieve things they never thought they’d be able to do, and through fire CAMP, preparing potential firefighters for their future career. I also am an active member of the SDFD Honor Guard.
Something About Myself: I lived in South Korea for a year and have been a whole 5 feet into North Korea.
Active Board Director
Hometown: Danville, CA
Why FFA: For me, it’s about helping others.
Person Who Inspires You the Most: My sister Courtney, she has inspired me since childhood. Overcoming obstacles and not using excuses to hold her back. She sets a goal and executes it.
How Do You Give Back: I volunteer my time at the San Diego 9/11 Stair Climb event. and others. I built and created the #SDFD Mustache Bash event, and 100% of the funds raised support the CAPP program. I also am involved in the SDFD Cadet Program. I am helping to mentor our youth to obtain their dreams of becoming a firefighter.
Something About Myself: I love my fiancé Chelsea and our dog, Kirby. Our main passion is to travel and see the world!
Hometown: Rolling Hills, CA
Why SDFRA: I spent 31 years in the Fire Service and loved it! We gave unselfishly to those who called. I can’t think of a better way to assist our brothers and sisters who gave of themselves at their own risk for the sake of others.
Person who inspires you the most: My dad. It has not always been so, but he has steadfastly stuck with who he is. He’s 93-years-old and continues to be the kind, gentle man he’s always been. He served in the Marine Corps 12th Defense Battalion during World War II and was in the first wave of soldiers during the Battle of Peleliu. He played baseball for the Chicago Cubs then gave it up to raise his family. He’s had a long full life and is a wonderful role model of a person.
How do you give back: As Firefighters, we give ourselves in service to others. Service on behalf of others brings me a sense of fulfillment. In retirement, I’ve found that giving back provides that sense of fulfillment, and so I continue to find ways to give back.
Tell us something about yourself: I’m married to a wonderful woman, Jane. She’s been a nurse at Scripps Hospital for 26 plus years. We’re husband and wife and best buddies as well. Between the two of us, we have four grown children and two dogs!
I love being active and outdoors. At any given time, you can find me in or around the ocean surfing, paddling, swimming or walking on the shore. I like yoga and I play golf poorly… but still trying.
Hometown: Sweetwater, TX
Why SDFRA: Charity begins at home and FD still feels like family
Person who inspires you the most: Fr. Vince Ahern. A man of great character, faith and personality
How do you give back: I volunteer in many ways through my church and the local community.
Tell us something about yourself: I enjoyed the job a great deal, I am enjoying retirement more. Travel, golf and leisure is great. I highly recommend it.
Manager of Operations
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Why SDFRA: This has been a dream of mine to work for the SDFRA since I was little. I am looking forward to giving back to the fire community and to help serve the men and women in their time of need.
Person who inspires you the most: My parents Arnell and Jolee Garcia. So often when I make decisions, I think of them and what would make them proud. They have taught me to be kinder than necessary, and that generosity is one of the most important things in life. They have led by example, and everyone who has had the blessing of knowing them can attest to that. Love you!
How do you give back: Caring for others has and will always be in my blood. I started volunteering at the age of five with a non-profit organization that offered burn survivors support and education in both fire and burn prevention.
Tell us something about yourself: Everyone thinks that I'm Mike Nuanes's daughter
because of my last name, but it's actually Arnie Garcia.
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Why SDFRA: I strongly believe what our organization stands for and I am inspired by how much support is within this firefighter community. I immediately felt like family when I started at Firefighter Aid and I knew I wanted to be here for the long run.
Person who inspires you the most: My kids inspire me the most. For them, I have learned to be strong and independent. They think they are watching and learning from me, when in fact it’s me who has learned from them and continues to learn from them every day.
How do you give back: I volunteer as a licensed hairstylist at multiple events for cures and causes.
Tell us something about yourself: I only go to the swap meet on the weekend for the nachos con carne.
Hometown: Buford, GA
Why SDFRA: I love being involved and giving back to the community. especially to those who put their lives on the line for us.
Person who inspires you the most: My mother, for being strong no matter what circumstances life gives her.
How do you give back: I am actively involved in multiple kids programs.
Tell us something about yourself: I love to travel.
Director of Development for FirefighterAid
Hometown: Reno, NV
Why SDFRA: In 2012 I volunteered at the Stair Climb event and that was it. I got to see SDFRA in action, who they help and what they stand for, that was it. I was SOLD!
Person who inspires you the most: My two daughters, Eleanora and Ava. I want to be the best female role model for them.
How do you give back: I try to find a way to give back every single day. If you are open to it you will see ways to give all the time. I volunteer, but most importantly I try to raise my daughters with these same ideals. It's important to create generations that are kind and that give back.
Tell us something about yourself: I love Taco Bell. Like...love, love it.
Community Engagement Representative for FirefighterAid
Hometown: Endicott, NY
Why SDFRA: I was very little when 9/11 happened; it is one of my first school memories. FFA seemed like a natural fit to honor and remember my family, friends, and neighbors who immediately responded to the call for help. I always wanted to give back and support those who protected and served my state and our country. Through FFA and the firefighter family - even while in California - I know that I am serving my purpose and giving back to those who gave everything.
Person who inspires you the most: My Grammy always inspired me when I was growing up. My great-grandmother always told me to be myself and follow my passion. She had a lot of attitude and sass despite being so petite. I always keep her spirit and mentality with me, helping me be as confident and compassionate as I am today.
How do you give back: I like to help my brother's Boy Scout Troop - even when I am on the other side of the country. I also like to participate in long distance running events to support charities close to my heart: Invictus for Coach Hynes, Breast Cancer Awareness, and local initiatives to help preserve history and culture.
Tell us something about yourself: I love baseball - minor and major league. I grew up going to minor league games every few days with my mom, and now, I like to go to as many major league games as possible.