Capt. II Tommy Kitahata: Firefighter of the Year

Fire Capt. named top Firefighter for 2020.

Capt. II Tommy Kitahata

LAFD: With 33 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Los Angeles, Capt. II Tommy Kitahata, Club Member, has been named Los Angeles Firefighters Association’s Firefighter of the Year for 2020.

Capt. Kitahata is a true public servant both on duty and off, the Department said in his honor. His selection as the 2020 Firefighter of the Year is well earned and well deserved.
Joining the LAFD in 1988, Capt. Kitahata quickly proved himself to be a reliable and hard-working Firefighter. He pursued the technical skills required to gain certification for the Urban Search and Rescue, California Task Force One and deployed to numerous disasters across the country during his career. He is one of the few remaining active LAFD members who went to 9/11 as part of the massive FEMA response.

His technical expertise and natural ease as a teacher shined in his time spent with the In-Service

Training section and as a Drill Master in Recruit Training. He continues to serve as an instructor and subject matter expert across both search and rescue and Firefighter skills. Most importantly, he never asks of others what he is not willing to do himself and is always the first to jump on a task.

Capt. Tommy Kitahata and his wife, Cheryl, at the Ground Zero Memorial and Museum in New York City. Capt. Kitahata was part of the California USAR team that searched the wreckage for survivors in the days following 9/11

This selflessness extends beyond the Department into his community. He is the first to join work parties organized to help fellow Firefighters and assist in funerals honoring our fallen members. His leadership is valued by his community through his roles as an Assistant Scout Master (Boy Scouts of America), feeding homeless through his church and helping his neighbors during the 2018 wildfires. His passion for serving his community was instrumental in the successful opening of the Meadow Arts and Technology Elementary school with those efforts being recognized and honored with the California Charter School Volunteer of the Year award, shared with his wife Cheryl.

Capt. Kitahata’s current assignment is Fire Station 69 in Pacific Palisades. Due to the pandemic, he is detailed to help lead the Department’s battle against COVID-19 in the Logistics Unit.

The LAFD couldn’t be more proud to announce the Los Angeles Firefighters Association’s 2020 Firefighter of the Year is Capt. II Tommy Kitahata.

Congratulations, Capt. Kitahata, on this great honor!

In a July ceremony delayed because of the pandemic, Capt. II Rick Godizez (Retired), Club Member, was named Firefighter of the Year for 2019.