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    There’s a new fire chief in town

    Joint Base San Antonio and 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Chief Michael Guzman

    Photo By Thomas Coney | Michael Guzman, Joint Base San Antonio Fire Emergency Services and 902nd Civil...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Gabriel Jones 

    502nd Air Base Wing

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO LACKLAND, Texas. — It was all warm smiles, hugs and laughter in Fire House 2 on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland as the crowd filed in and waited for the official party to arrive. Michael Guzman was promoting to installation fire chief of the Defense Department’s largest and busiest fire department.
    Guzman himself could not stop smiling. More than 34 years of fire protection service earned him this long sought-after position.
    It hasn’t been an easy road for Guzman during his time in fire services. Guzman recalled when a friend was promoted to deputy fire chief over him.
    “I was excited for him. I let him know that I was there to help,” Guzman said . “I was heading home and I was bawling. I was sad and disappointed, wondering what else I could have done.”
    Guzman drove to his father’s house.
    “I got out of the truck,” Guzman said. “I tried to clean up my tears but I had big red eyes. He could tell something was wrong. I told him what happened and he said, ‘Hey, you just keep working hard, stay focused and they will see that. Use that energy to work even harder.’”
    Guzman credits his work ethic to the example of his parents. Guzman’s father was a truck driver while his mother raised seven children, one of which has special needs.
    “Me being the eldest, naturally, I always tried to help [my mother],” Guzman said. “I have one sister with Down syndrome . She needed full time attention. Instead of putting her somewhere else with people she doesn’t know, my mother said, ‘That’s my baby, she’s staying here. I’ll take care of her.’ My mom was an incredible, amazing woman.”
    Guzman said he also had excellent examples of leadership during his career.
    Among those who attended Guzman’s promotion ceremony was retired Fire Chief Lewis Everett who Guzman said he was like a father figure to him early in his career. Everett coached and mentored Guzman.
    “He encouraged me to go to squadron officer school at Maxwell,” Guzman said. “When I got there, it was a lot coming at me at once and I thought ‘What the heck did I get into?’”
    A self-proclaimed “shy guy,” persevering through the class helped Guzman come out of his shell.
    “I learned a lot about leadership and leading our team,” Guzman said. “We did physical fitness together, wrote papers together and had great instructors.”
    Though the class was a challenge, Guzman said he had a great experience.
    Reflecting further back on his career, Guzman recalled his first fire chief as someone he wanted to mirror as he grew in his own career. He described that chief as walking tall in a sharp, pressed white shirt with a shiny badge.
    “Somewhere early in my career I said I want to be like him.” Guzman said.
    Now in that same position more than 30 years later, Guzman comes to work each day in his pressed white shirt and shiny gold badge with a list of goals to work toward.
    “You do not want to go to a funeral,” said Guzman. “You do not want to have to talk to a spouse or children about losing a firefighter. So, number one is safety, making sure they have the correct equipment, fire apparatus, correct procedures and are not taking risks when it is not necessary.”
    This year, 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron won Fire Prevention Team of the Year at the DOD level. Guzman has his sights set on earning more accolades for his firefighters. Guzman’s aim is to get the JBSA Fire Emergency Services accreditation.
    “What that does is give our men and women that work here an internal pride that they've met a higher standard,” Guzman said. “I want the 502nd Air Base Wing community and Joint Base San Antonio to be proud that their department is accredited.”
    When he isn’t in the office, Guzman is spending time with his wife, Dana, and his grandsons, Wyatt, and Kayce.
    “I love to spend quality time with them,” Guzman said. “That’s probably the best thing you can do is give a child time. I love to take them swimming and fishing and to the park and zoo.”
    Guzman referred to his grandsons as his pride and joy. At his promotion ceremony, Guzman beamed when they presented him with his helmet and he got to hug them. Guzman said he loved getting to video chat with them and show them the trucks.
    “It’s good to step away from the emails and phone calls,” said Guzman. “We will talk a little bit and then I’ll say, ‘Papa will call you later, I have to get back to work.’ It is a chance to disconnect from work, connect with family and then reconnect to work — a nice little break.”
    In interviewing Chief Guzman, he used the word ”love” seven times. He used “love” three times while describing his feelings for his family. Another three times, he used “love” when describing his career and the firefighters to whom he has dedicated his life.
    Both Guzman’s parents and mentors taught him the importance of exceeding expectations and achieving goals.
    “I hear guys complain about little things and I just go do it. I get the job done,” Guzman said. “I give 100 percent, no I give 110 percent. I always give extra.”



    Date Taken: 06.23.2023
    Date Posted: 06.23.2023 15:49
    Story ID: 447881

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