Alice FD fills long time vacancies, now fully staffed

Staff Writer
Alice Echo News Journal

We have all heard the statement “A company’s greatest asset is its employees” and while the fire department has some great employees, many vacancies were left vacant throughout the past several years.

For some time, the department found difficulties filling these vacancies. This problem is not unique to Alice, as many other departments are having the same problem. This week the department made a huge advancement in addressing the staffing shortage when the final of 8 vacancies was filled.

“While we are aware that we still have many challenges to address, we are pleased to announce that we are at full capacity,” stated Alice Fire Chief Patrick J. Thomas.

The solution, however, was not as simple as hiring firefighters. The entire process was revamped by the staff with the goal of hiring the best firefighters for the department.

“It was important to the entire department that we found firefighters that were like minded and ready to serve a community like ours. We are evolving, and we needed firefighters that were up to the challenge,” stated Thomas.

Over the past year, the departments’ staff has been working hard to recruit, hire, and train the best firefighters for the community. Multiple committees were formed to make this happen and the entire department stepped up to accomplish this task. From visiting academies, creating videos, or serving on committees, the departments’ staff worked together to address this need.

All of the probationary firefighters are at different phases in their probationary training. The probationary period for a firefighter is one year.

The department looks forward to everything these firefighters will contribute to our community as they continue their journeys with the Hub City’s Bravest. Please join the department and welcome the following firefighters.

Saul Barrera:

Probationary Firefighter Saul Barrera comes to us from Kingsville, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 1 at Station 3.

He plans on furthering his career here with Alice and hopes on becoming a pump operator and fire investigator. He chose to work in Alice because he has family in the area and loves the town.

Joseph Champine:

Probationary Firefighter Joseph Champine comes to us from Corpus Christi, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 2 at Station 1. He plans on furthering his career here with AFD and hopes to work on the ladder truck and get a rescue technician certification.

He chose to work in Alice because he loves the community and the proud Fire Department that serves it.

Benny Clegg II:

Probationary Firefighter Benny Clegg II comes to us from Premont, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 1 at Station 1.

He plans on furthering his career here with AFD and hopes to become a fire investigator and instructor. He chose to work in Alice because it has become home and wants to be able to serve the community and surrounding areas.

Matthew Cortez:

Probationary Firefighter Matthew Cortez comes to us from Corpus Christi, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 1 at Station 1.

He plans on furthering his career here with AFD and hopes to work on the ladder truck and obtain rescue technician certification. He chose to work in Alice because he “wants to serve the smaller community and be a part of the outstanding Fire Department.”

Kevin Figueroa:

Probationary Firefighter Kevin Figueroa comes to us from Corpus Christi, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 3 at Station 1.

He plans on furthering his career here with Alice and become a great and skilled fire fighter. He chose to work in Alice because he was given the opportunity to start his career with an outstanding Fire Department.

Gabriel Guerra:

Probationary Firefighter Gabriel Guerra comes to us from Corpus Christi, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 3 at Station 1. He plans on furthering his career here with AFD and hopes to learn as much as he can to excel in being the best Firefighter he can be and prove himself to everyone who surrounds him.

He chose to work in Alice, Texas because he has felt very welcomed ever since the Alice Fire Department visited his Fire Academy class in 2018. The AFD gave reasons to work for Alice and passed out applications. He stated, “I could feel how close they were since they were a smaller department and all new each other so well.”

Richard Gutierrez:

Probationary Firefighter Richard Gutierrez comes to us from Petronila, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 1 at Station 1.

He plans on furthering his career here with AFD and hopes to be part of this community for years to come and doing all he can to help build a progressive Fire Department that will set the standard on protecting the City of Alice.

He chose to work with Alice because he is from a small town himself, and he feels he could do more for a City that he feels connected to. He recognized the camaraderie between the department shifts and realized that this was what he wanted to be part of, and this is where he felt like he was meant to be.

Thomas Hale:

Probationary Firefighter Thomas Hale comes to us from Corpus Christi, Texas.

He is assigned to Shift 2 at Station 1.

He plans on furthering his career here with AFD and hopes to work on becoming a Driver/Operator and becoming a fire instructor. He chose to work in Alice because he wanted to give back to a smaller community and help everyone in need.