Awarded by Alexander Flightline Mazda Mitsubishi
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA) - This year, the U.S. Senate officially designated October 28 as National First Responders' Day.
Alexander Flightline Mazda Mitsubishi asked the community on social media to vote for their favorite first responder for its 2019 Top First Responder Award.
The goal of this social media campaign was to bring awareness to the service and sacrifices that first responders make every day.
Once those votes came in, Rural Metro Fire Department’s Captain Martin Mendez won by a landslide.
First responders are our local heroes, and it’s definitely not a job for everyone.
However, Capt. Mendez says he knew this was his calling from the first time he shadowed a firefighter as a teenager.
After 18-years with Rural Metro and 12-years as captain, Mendez can now add 2019 Top First Responder in Yuma County to his list of achievements.
With that title came a satisfying reward, lunch from Firehouse Subs!
Co-owner of Firehouse Subs, Chris Miller, said, “I think this is a great award to win inside of this community and we just can't congratulate him enough.”
General Sales Manager of Alexander Flightline Mazda Mitsubishi, Wes McDowell, said, “[First responders] get called out at any minute. You never know, you’re sitting down having a meal and next thing you know you’ve got to go. It’s our way of saying lunch is on us. Thanks for what you do.”
Capt. Mendez doesn't use social media, so he was completely surprised by the award.
Nonetheless, he's excited to share his lunch with his family at the fire station.
“I still wake up some days and I can't believe I do this for a living. It just blows me away,” Capt. Mendez said.
Capt. Mendez didn't allow this award to interfere with his dedication and passion for fiercely protecting the community.
Immediately after receiving his award, the captain jumped on the fire engine to respond to a call.
This was the first year for this award, and other nominees were from the Yuma Police and Fire Departments, Yuma County Sheriff's Office, and other Yuma County organizations.