Saldana named Devine VFD Firefighter of the Month

Michael Saldana

Devine has been blessed with a fire department that cares about our community. The Devine Volunteer Fire and Rescue department is made up of a kind hearted, giving, caring, and dedicated staff. This month’s Firefighter of the month exemplifies all of those attributes, as well as being one of the best for continuing education. Captain Michael Saldana is a reserve, low profile, family man. He is a hard working ranch manager, friend, and avid hunter. He is also one of the fastest to make the rank of Captain in the history of DVFD. How did he achieve such a monumental feat? He worked hard, continued to educate himself, and put the community above all else. We asked Chief Atkinson his thoughts on Captain Saldana and here is what he had to say, “Michael is an extremely humble guy, he is also a private guy, so I had to practically beg him to take this honor this month simply because he didn’t want the spotlight. The reality is he deserves it, he is the hardest working guy in the department and typically, it flies under the radar. No one goes to more schools or has more training in the last 3 years than Michael.”
That’s right, Captain Saldana has been in the department just over 3 years. In that time frame the Captain has not only finished all the basic courses he needed to become a firefighter, but has also been certified in; swift water rescue, motor vehicle rescue, extrication, incident command, traffic management, Scene risk assessment and danger reduction, and by the end of the year, intends to have his fire instructors certificate. Captain Saldana has certifications from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Texas A&M Engineering Extension Services (TEEX), The Red Cross, and the State Firefighters and Fire Marshals Association (SFFMA).
When asked how he got into firefighting Captain Saldana responded “Basically I joined because I was bored at home and looking for something to do. I had just started a new job and found myself with a lot of free time, so one day I was reading the paper and saw an ad for the local volunteer fire department. They needed help, so I told my wife and daughter I was going to go join. They kind of chuckled, my wife patted me and said ‘ok dear.’ So I showed up on a Thursday night, what they call truck night for maintenance, and I saw people filling coolers with ice. I thought I could do that! So when I talked to the chief, I told him I may not know much but I can fill Ice chest. That is exactly what I did for a while. Then I went to classes, and training, and then I found myself at TEEX training with volunteers from around the state and building relationships. Next thing I know I’m on first out trucks during an emergency! I found myself learning skills I could bring back to our community and teach others to do. I was hooked.” So Captain, from filling ice chests, and training all the time for the toughest of situations and emergencies, do you still enjoy it? “Knowing what I know now, I should have gone to the fire academy straight out of high school, and went into firefighting as my career. I cannot describe the feeling I get from helping my friends and community, and teaching the generation behind me to do the same. I look forward to it every single day,” said Captain Saldana.
Chief Atkinson added “I think Michael has been on 80 runs this year for the community, we have only had 112 thus far as a department. So he is making 70% of our runs, while working a full time job, and having a family. Michael is at the station at least 4 days a week, training, teaching, working on equipment, and studying for the next class. He is an example not just for the department, but for the community.”
So for his dedication, commitment to community, hard work, and perseverance in his pursuit of continued education, Captain Michael Saldana is this month’s Devine Volunteer Fire and Rescue’s Firefighter of the month.