Disability doesn’t keep firefighter from his dream

By From page A1 | February 13, 2014

VFPD firefighter of year 2_11_14

Vacaville Fire Protection District Firefighter of the Year Todd Lechuga. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

VACAVILLE — Vacaville Fire Protection District Firefighter Todd Lechuga’s hearing disability never stopped him from his dream of being a firefighter.

“It does not matter what your disability is, if you want something bad enough, you can do it,” Lechuga said.

Lechuga last month was named the Vacaville Fire Protection District’s Firefighter of the Year. He will join honorees from Solano County’s other fire departments and fire protection districts at a March ceremony hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Solano County.

“I was kind of shocked. I was not expecting this,” Lechuga said of the honor.

Lechuga was raised in Rodeo and has been involved in firefighting since he was a high school senior when he joined the Crockett Fire Department as an on-call paid firefighter.

“Firefighting had always been a passion for me,” Lechuga said. “(As a youth) I used to watch when they went out on calls.”

Lechuga moved to the Vacaville area in 2001 and signed up to serve as a firefighter with the Vacaville Fire Protection District because he wanted to stay involved with firefighting and helping people, he said.

He knew about the Vacaville Fire Protection District prior to moving here because some of the fire captains he worked for in Crockett had joined the Vallejo Fire Department and worked with the Vacaville firefighters when they deployed up here as part of strike teams to battle wildfires.

Since then, Lechuga has been heavily involved with fire protection district calls ranging from wildfires to medical calls, to working with other firefighters on training.

“He is one of those aggressive firefighters,” Vacaville Fire Protection District Chief Howard Wood said. “He makes every call that he is available for. He is there when you need him.”

Wood said that Lechuga makes a point of pitching in where he is needed and said Lechuga has been an important part of building a new Fire Station 68 near Lake Solano.

Lechuga said the best part of his job is working with the other firefighters and the public, while the most challenging is going out on strike teams to other areas to battle wildfires.

He said he plans to stay with the department and continue helping the residents of the fire protection district, doing what he has always loved since he was young.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.co/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.

Discussion | 7 comments

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  • Blanca BotwinFebruary 13, 2014 - 7:06 am

    Isn't the title supposed to tell us what the story is about? He won't let his disability stop him. He says "“It does not matter what your disability is, if you want something bad enough, you can do it." Yet, NOTHING IS MENTIONED ABOUT HIS DISABILITY! I read the article FOUR times, thinking I missed it. How are you going to tell us if we want something bad enough, you can do it, when we don't even know what you have? I'm sorry, but this article needs to be redone. Did you forget to add the disability in, or??? Seems like a filler article. Nothing to report today? Maybe the title should have been Firefighter earns Firefighter of the year Achievement, because at least that is mentioned in the article. SMDH.

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  • CD BrooksFebruary 13, 2014 - 7:13 am

    Blanca, you need to read it a fifth time...it's there.

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  • S KFebruary 13, 2014 - 8:12 am

    Morning CD. Well my NOSE must be in the way, cause I just scrolled over it at least THREE times and also do not see it :-). I guess they forgot to teach that part in the writers journalism class, which I also took back in High School ;-)

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  • S KFebruary 13, 2014 - 8:15 am

    LOL LOL>>>Guess I'm eating too many donuts, just saw it, "Firefighter Todd Lechuga’s hearing disability, " my apologies to the article's writer :-)

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  • CD BrooksFebruary 13, 2014 - 8:21 am

    Morning to you S K! Hey, I can't tell you how many times I've missed things like this. All good my friend, enjoy the walk AND the donuts too! :)

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  • JAMES JOHANSURBOURGFebruary 13, 2014 - 8:27 am

    Who cares its not a paid fire department everyone knows that districts employ retards

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  • DsteveFebruary 13, 2014 - 3:35 pm

    Pretty sad James Johansurbourg, as a career firefighter I am disgusted by your comment. Congrats to Mr Lechuga.

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