Coast Guardsmen double as firefighters


Petty Officer Third Class Fabian Gonzalez, Fireman Lance Strand and Seaman Benjamin Dennard are volun­teer firefighters with the Lagu­na Vista Fire Department.

Not only do they work 24 hours a day for the Coast Guard but on their off time they are on call for the fire de­partment. All three are quali­fied crewman on all ANT SPI platforms, FN Strand is a qual­ified engineer and BM3 Gon­zalez is a qualified coxswain.

Seaman Benjamin Dennard is taking classes to become an Emergency Medical Techni­cian for the fire department which also contributes to the Coast Guard. Every Tuesday night they have training with the Laguna Vista fire depart­ment where they will become Texas state certified fire fight­ers. Although they are not yet state certified, they have enough training to work under a state certified fire fighter.

FN Strand has been to 40 emergency calls, BM3 Gon­zalez has been to over seventy and SN Dennard has been to over one hundred emergency calls helping the residents La­guna Vista, Laguna Heights and Port Isabel.

“I joined the Laguna Vista Fire Department because I wanted to help in the com­munity, plus I get to put red and blue lights in my car,” said Petty Officer Third Class Gonzalez.

BM3 Gonzalez has been stationed with ANT SPI for almost two years and has been a volunteer with the fire de­partment for almost one year. Both FN Strand and SN Den­nard have been with ANT SPI and the fire department for one year.

“I always knew I wanted to help save lives, the Coast Guard has provided the opportunity to do both, sea­man and fire fighter and now I will have EMT too,” said SN Dennard

“Although I have been to many calls, it was not until this last fire that I truly understood what it meant to be a firefight­er, this fire was huge and the whole house became engulfed in flames so fast,” recalls BM3 Gonzalez.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of the May 9 edition of the Port Isabel South Padre Press or check out our E-edition by clicking here.

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