Fire Chief Troy Hughes, coworkers, family and friends honored longtime Los Alamos Firefighter and IAFF Local 3279 Union President Flavio Martinez at a gathering in Fire Administration Wednesday.
“Capt. Martinez was one of the first people I met with when I came here to see if this is where I wanted to work and I quickly recognized that he really only wanted the same things I did – a well-trained department, people treated fairly and people held accountable if they weren’t doing their job,” Hughes said. “It was clear to me that Flavio had a lot of passion and love for this department … I thank him for his many positive contributions.”
Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider commended Martinez, recounting a long list of programs he developed and participated in including the department’s Heart program, search tactics and rescue.
“Flavio joined LAFD in 1990 and he was a member of our fire investigations for 15 years,” Grider said. “One of his biggest accomplishments was being the chief fire contract negotiator the last four years.”
Driver Engineer Danny Archuleta said Martinez was, “a big inspiration in my life.”
“We have posters hanging all over that say things like courage, pride, honor – I really saw those things alive in Flavio,” Archuleta said.
Firefighter Cari Mace is the new union president.
“Flavio is one of the true mentors in my life.” she said. “They say your first captain is the one who really sets your career on its path and I am grateful and proud that Flavio was my first captain.”
Martinez summed up his life at LAFD saying his career went by very fast and that he hadn’t intended to stay with it very long.
“It was a stepping stone to the lab,” he said. “I spoke with my father and he said, ‘What do you want to do, make lots of money or make a difference?’ You’ve just got to stand for something. I met with Chief Hughes and I saw him as a guy with honor and I feel this department is headed for good things.”
Martinez loves the outdoors and in his retirement intends to spend as much time in the wilderness on horseback as possible.