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.