Leonard Rivera – Westbury, NY

Name: Leonard Rivera
Title: Former Chief
Department: Garden City Fire Department
Location: Westbury, NY

Why are you an NVFC member?
The NVFC is the premier organization nationally that provides exceptional information and services to volunteer firefighters all over the U.S. They are able to understand the busier urban area departments as well as the most remote rural departments. They are constantly evolving and providing the latest information and support to keep the volunteer fire service adaptive.

What is your occupation?

Why are you a fire service volunteer?
Service to my community. I found that being a volunteer firefighter is one of the highest forms of community service. The people I have helped, the professional and life skills learned, as well as the many personal friendships and life bonds I have made, are irreplaceable. The experience has been incredibly rewarding. I started when I was 15 as a junior firefighter and rose through the ranks to chief. The life skills learned have helped not only in the fire service, but my professional career as well outside the fire service.

What year did you join the fire or emergency services?

What are your memorable moments as a firefighter or EMS provider?
The moments when I made a difference. I will never forget when I rescued a trapped elderly woman from her burning home. I and another firefighter found her unconscious on a hallway floor and removed her. She survived! I received a medal of valor that I will always cherish and be proud of.

What contributions have you (and your department) made in your community?
Our department does many things, including participating in community events and providing fire prevention and safety education to our community’s students and adults. We sponsor a little league baseball team, we fly our super large American flag at many events, we donate dozens of American flags to line our main community street for Memorial Day and other US holidays, and so much more.

Interested in serving your community? Find volunteer fire service opportunities at www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org.