LPM Staff

Brothers earn captain, battalion chief berths at Glendale Fire

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From left to right: Captain Paul Morales, Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick, Battalion Chief Alex Morales.

Last December Alex and Norma Morales drove to Glendale’s City Council chambers to sit among family members and friends as their two sons advanced in the Glendale Fire Department.

In the ceremony, son Paul, 40, was promoted to fire captain.

These were moments that made their parents happier than a chance to ride on a ladder truck.

“Alex knew he wanted to be a firefighter when he was 6 years old. He pursued that dream,” Norma recalls. “He just loved it, since he was little. He always was mesmerized when a truck went by. He’d say, ‘That’s what I want to be.’ “

As he matured, younger brother Paul was influenced by Alex’s dream, and became a firefighter after trying other kinds of jobs. He admired his older brother’s dedication to firefighting.

“Alex worked really hard. He always was pushing. When he went for the (battalion chief) interview in Glendale, and they called him, it was the happiest day of his life. And of course we all rejoiced with him because his lifetime dream was being fulfilled,” Norma says.

Besides the nearly two dozen family members in the audience, Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs was also in attendance. Both Paul and Alex had been chosen to speak for the newly promoted captains and chiefs, which says a lot about how they are regarded, according to Daniel Valenzuela, public information officer for Glendale Fire.

“Those two, they are the salt of the earth,” Valenzuela says.

“Alex and Paul Morales serve as prime examples of leadership, integrity and hard work,” said Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick. “The Glendale Fire Department is proud and fortunate to have them in their respective leadership roles,” Chief Burdick added.

Both brothers have spent years working in the department, often putting in time at Station No. 152, near 70th Avenue and Glendale, not far from where their parents live. Alex’s 14-year-old son Austin also spends time with his dad at the station.

Many things ran through Norma’s mind as she watched the ceremonies for her sons: their hard work, dedication, and persistence to succeed, their achievements – “everything was rolled into one,” she says.

“I can’t even express how proud I felt.”

BRIEFS

Car Event Welcomes Military, Public Safety Guests

All service men and women, police officers and firefighters with valid identification will be admitted free to the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event on Family Value Day Jan. 13.

This is the third year the Scottsdale event will host Family Value Day, which is sponsored by Ford Motor Co.

Guests will enjoy a kids’ fashion show at 2 and 4 p.m. featuring clothes by Urban Kidz. Attendees can browse more than 1,000 vehicles from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the cars will be auctioned later in the week to collectors. Last year the show attracted more than 25,000 car enthusiasts.

For info, visit www.barrett-jackson.com or call (480) 421-6694.

Luke AFB Grads and Awardees

Luke Air Force Base senior airmen graduates from class 08-1 include:
Wynee Diaz, 56th Fighter Wing
Maria Herrera, 56th Maintenance Operations Squadron
Raul Sanchez, Jr. and Jose Zaragoza II, 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
Among awardees cited recently by the 56th Fighter Wing are:
Senior Airman Jose Saunders, 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Kerri Marroquin, 56th Communications Squadron

A Hero, At Final Rest

The first Arizona soldier to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor was laid to rest last month.

Silvestre Herrera, whose bravery during WWII saved his fellow soldiers despite costing him both legs, was buried at Resthaven Park Cemetery in Glendale early in December.

At the memorial service Gov. Janet Napolitano described him as an “unassuming” man, a tribute that would have pleased the quiet, humble Herrera.

While serving in the army outside Mertzwiller, France, the young man boldly charged German soldiers who had pinned down his unit with heavy fire. Silvestre’s charge resulted in his taking of eight prisoners.

A little late that same day, Herrera’s platoon again was in peril. This time, Herrera charged across a field loaded with mines, attacking the enemy. He lost one, then another of his legs to the explosive devices in the ground. Yet he continued to use his machine gun against the Germans, which allowed the Americans to skirt around the field and capture the enemy.

Herrera was awarded the Medal of Honor and was the only man to ever have received both it and Mexico’s highest award of valor, the Premier Merito Militar.

“I am a Mexican-American and we have a tradition,” Herrera was once quoted as saying. “We’re supposed to be men, not sissies.”

Knowing his battlefield action, no one could doubt his sentiment.

For more, visit www.medalofhonor.com/SilvestreHerrera.htm

Bill would protect licenses for Guard, Reservists

Cronkite News Service

Sen. Jim Waring, R-Phoenix, is sponsoring a bill in the upcoming legislative seession that would protect member of the Arizona National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserves fro mlosing professional licenses while they are deployed.

The bill, SB 1006, would extend professional licenses for 180 after he or she returns from federal active duty. State law now offers such protections to U.S. armed forces members who are deployed abroad.

Jim Ellars, national legislative officer for the Arizona branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, says service members should not face uncertainty about their job security. “Soldiers donate their time, efforts and lives to a career. They choose to serve and they shouldn’t be punished for that,” Ellars says. “We need our guards and reserves, and we need their talent in our communities. He adds this bill would fill a gap in Arizona law.

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