Now-Retired Fire Capt. named top Firefighter for 2019.
LAFD: Capt. II Rick Godinez, Retired, 36 years of City service, Club Member, has been named Firefighter of the Year for 2019. The 2019 ceremony was delayed until July 22 due to the pandemic. He retired in April 2020.
Rick, who left an indelible mark on the Dept., joined the LAFD in September 1984. After graduating from Drill Tower 89, he embarked on a career serving at 10 different fire stations as he was promoted through the ranks. His skills in leading and teaching were recognized early, resulting in instructor positions in Disaster Preparedness and the Drill Tower.
Wanting to contribute even more to the City and his community, Rick also served on the Incident Management Team (responding to large-scale incidents both in the City and nationwide) where he held positions of Plans Manager, Public Information Officer, and Public Affairs Specialist. During this time, he responded to numerous deployments, including the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, Haiti Earthquake, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Hannah, Ike, Harvey and Irma. In recognition of his experience and dedication, he was selected to serve on the National Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Affairs Work Group for 10 years and served as the Chairperson for two years.
One of Rick’s greatest influence and inspiration lay in his role as the Sr. Fire Chaplain for the Department, where he left a positive and lasting impact on the men and women of the LAFD and their families. He led a voluntary team of 11 Chaplains and two trainees in providing spiritual and emotional support while coordinating active duty and Retired memorials, weddings, hospital visits and ceremonies. Rick delivered invocations, benedictions and eulogies for ceremonies, memorials and countless events. Rick also served on the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association Board as a trustee for more than 13 years where he helped widows, orphans and disabled Firefighters at their most difficult times. As Chair of the Marketing and Development and Scholarship Committees, and founder of the Family Support Group, he exemplified the organization’s mission of “Firefighters helping Firefighters.”
Capt. Godinez embodies the Department’s core values of service, professionalism, integrity, respect, innovation and trust. The LAFD and the City of Los Angeles Firefighters Association are proud to recognize Capt. II Rick Godinez as the 2019 Firefighter of the Year.
“I get asked many times, do you miss the LAFD?” he was quoted saying on CBSLA. “And the answer is yes, a resounding yes, absolutely,” he said. “This was my dream job for more than 35 years, and I revered it. It was always what I wanted to do with my life, and I feel so lucky. It was such a fulfilling career for me, and it exceeded all of my expectations.”
He also thanked his wife, Terri Godinez, for keeping their family together while he went out on the fire line.
The Club is honored to have covered Capt. Rick’s mission trip in Haiti in 2011, and at other times.
The best of congratulations to you, Rick, for this prestigious honor. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement.