Oakland, CA — A member of the Oakland Fire Department is in Washington D.C. this weekend for a White House celebration honoring Front Line Workers and First Responders. Firefighter Paramedic Gustavo Gonzalez is part of a delegation chosen by the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters to represent the organization at the Independence Day celebration to mark "America Getting Back Together".
“Firefighter/Paramedic Gonzalez embodies everything that Oakland Fire Department represents as a dedicated and consummate professional,” said Fire Chief Reginald Freeman. “I am thankful for his many contributions to our city, organization, and the collective fire service and equally thankful for him representing OFD at the White House. He makes us proud every single day.”
The Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House will include more than 1,000 first responders, essential workers, military service members and their families.
“I am honored and humbled to have been selected to represent the dedicated firefighters working on the front lines during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” said Firefighter Gustavo Gonzalez. “This pandemic has hit local communities extremely hard, and I am proud to represent our department and the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters who have worked hard to ensure vulnerable populations have access to covid testing, vaccinations, and other key resources.“
During his career with the City of Oakland, Gonzalez has served the community in several positions: as The National Association of Hispanic Firefighters Western Region Vice President; a proud member of Oakland Firefighters Local 55; and in leadership roles with the Oakland Latino Firefighters Association.
“The Oakland Fire Department has been a tremendous partner for community organizations in good times and bad, and Gustavo Gonzalez is a big part of that,” said Chris Iglesias, President and CEO of the Unity Council in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. “Beyond his day to day duties as an Firefighter, Gustavo consistently seeks out opportunities for collaboration on events and initiatives that positively impact our community. He’s a great representative of front line workers and first responders who have played a pivotal role during the Covid 19 pandemic and are making sure that cities like Oakland can bounce back and be resilient afterward.”
The Fire Department is called to serve in many ways, but responded to the evolving needs of Oakland residents during a global pandemic has posed many new and unique new challenges. In addition to responding to traditional calls for service, members of the department are challenged with an increased call volume, new requirements for personnel safety and finding new ways to safely treat and comfort the sick and dying.
“I am committed to meeting the needs of my community, facilitating it’s growth and protecting the safety and security of the Oakland community,” said Gonzalez.