City of Montebello Sends Trainees to Paramedic School – Free Of Charge
Generous financial legacy gift from former Montebello Fire Captain keeps on giving.
The City announced it is sending two new fire department auxiliary trainees to paramedic school full-time thanks to a tremendous legacy gift left to the Montebello Fire Department by former Captain George Miller, who passed away in November of 2016. Cpt. Miller had no heirs and family and his sincere desire was to enable his beloved fire department, with which he served most of his career, to thrive after his passing. Thanks to a generous gift of more than $300,000 dollars donated to the Montebello Fire Department in Cpt. Miller’s hand-written will, two young recruits will receive full paramedic training and certification at no personal cost. Typically tuition for this type of training is paid for out the trainee’s own pocket.
“Cpt. Miller left us a tremendous financial gift that will benefit our fire fighting force for years to come,” said fire Chief Fernando Pelaez. “Paramedic training and certification is paramount in our city where the majority of our service calls are health or medical related.” Building and maintaining these critical skills into our firefighting team is essential in maintaining a modern and capable fire department and the community wants well-trained personnel. Chief Pelaez noted that this kind of progress is exactly what Cpt. Miller had in mind for his legacy and gift. “The entire community of Montebello and its residents will benefit from having a modern and well-qualified firefighting force that is ready to assist and respond to many different needs,” he added.
For years the Montebello Fire Department has hired, trained and provided extensive life-saving skills and training to firefighters, only to see them frequently hired away by other fire departments. This gift has established the “Captain Miller Paramedic Trainee Program” creating a foundation for the retention and attraction of qualified applicants. This living endowment is funding specialized paramedic training that requires six months of fulltime commitment to complete. Once completed, this training produces invaluable field medical expertise, certifying graduates as qualified Los Angeles County Paramedics.
The two initial trainees selected to participate in the program starting today are Kyle Jordan (age 29) and Matthew Ortega (age 23). Kyle and Matthew are both natives of Southern California. Trainee Jordan served in the U.S. Navy where he gained firefighting experience and his desire to continue this work drew him to apply with Montebello Fire. Trainee Ortega served as a youth fire explorer with L.A. County Fire throughout junior high and high school. He was mentored by an L.A. County firefighter who inspired him to continue his career in firefighting.
Matthew Ortega expressed his thanks by saying, “I am extremely grateful; this is like a golden ticket. For the City to be putting me through paramedic training is a huge deal for me because I come from a large family that struggled financially as I grew up. Not having the financial burden on me to pay for this training makes me feel extremely grateful. I plan to pay it forward while working for the Montebello Fire Dept.”
His colleague Kyle Jordan added, “I had no idea this was even an option. When I came here I wanted to work hard and get experience to become a fulltime firefighter. This opportunity shows they see something in us and I want to be able to show them we can do this. I am excited about my future with Montebello Fire.”