Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans. It's a time to celebrate their heritage and culture while recognizing their presence and influence in the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Da de la Raza) is October 12.

ABC30 salutes Luis Nevarez, Interim Fire Chief of Tulare City Fire Department.

Click here to watch our Hispanic Heritage PSA.

Luis Nevarez is a native of Los Angeles. In 1987 he became a firefighter with the California Department of Forestry (Cal Fire). He was stationed in Crescent City in northern California. Working with Cal Fire as seasonal firefighter, his next three fire seasons were out of Tulare County. In 1991, Nevarez moved to Visalia, California where he was hired with the City of Tulare Fire Department and raised his three children. In 2002, Nevarez suffered a 12,000-volt power line accident in the line of duty that resulted in the amputation of his left hand. Nevarez's relentless attitude, rigorous training, and adjustment to his new prosthetic, found him back on the fire engine within one year after his accident. Nevarez continued to flourish in his career advancing through the ranks of his department.

Throughout his 27 year career with the City of Tulare Fire Department. Nevarez has embraced the responsibility of being a proactive and influential example for his aspiring firefighter candidates. In 2009, he spearheaded the Fire Explorer Program for high-school students. As the Director/Advisor of the Tulare Fire Department's Explorer Program he emphasizes the importance of professionalism, integrity, work ethics, and leadership. Nevarez is also a fire instructor at community colleges within the Central Valley teaching a variety of fire-essential subjects and specializing in technical rescue/firefighter survival. He has travelled to Mexico to train and equip firefighters who may not have access to the latest equipment.

In 2002 he was honored with a purple heart by the California State Firefighter Association. Nevarez is a strong advocate of peer support for burn survivors and amputees across the nation. As an ambassador for the World Burn Congress and DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, Nevarez has collaborated with countless Fire Departments and Burn Units to bring awareness to Burn Survivors and other amputees. Nevarez never forgets his native Los Angeles upbringing and enjoys mentoring at risk youth at local high schools and community centers. Nevarez was named interim Fire Chief of Tulare City Fire Department in 2018.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, emphasis in Organizational Leadership from Fresno Pacific University. Source: Luis Nevarez

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