Jorge Saldana has a lot of big boots to fill as a newly promoted Edinburg fire truck driver, representing the third generation of his family to enter the profession. He wasn’t the only one with family ties to the profession as Kevin Gonzalez follows in his wife’s footsteps.
“There is a long tradition in the firefighter community of several generations being firefighters,” Edinburg Fire Chief Shawn Snider explained. “It’s not unusual for firefighters to have other relatives as firefighters. There’s a strong family connection in this field, not just in Edinburg.”
The Edinburg Fire Department hosted a pinning ceremony last week at City Hall for firefighters promoted to driver positions and firefighters earning full status after passing their probationary period. Four drivers and three firefighters were pinned during the event in front of family, friends and elected officials.
In opening the ceremony, Mayor Richard Garcia acknowledged the risks firefighters take and why they do it. “There’s no glamor to be choking and covered in soot. Hopefully, you’re here because you care. You care about public service. You care about your community, about your family. Be proud to be part of a team where most serve something greater than yourself.”
Snider called on family members to pin the newly recognized fire department members. Firefighters earning promotions to driver included Rolando Reyes, Jorge Saldana, Kevin Gonzalez and Eric Salinas. Probationary firefighters earning full status included Jose. D. Barrera and Esteban Mercado. Adrian Cisneros had been pinned at an earlier ceremony. Snider administered the oath to the group.
Roland Reyes is a second generation firefighter. His father was fire chief in Hidalgo and a veteran of the McAllen Fire Department. Jorge Saldana’s grandfather, Sandy Saldana, was a firefighter and fire inspector in Mission. One of Jorge’s uncles was fire chief in Misson. Jorge’s father, Rick Saldana, is a volunteer with the Edinburg Fire Department.
Kevin Gonzalez’s wife was a firefighter in Pharr and volunteer in Edinburg before Kevin entered the profession.