Kindness Behind the Shield: Kern County Firefighter Tony Garcia

Kindness Behind The Shield

For 30 years he’s lead the Kern County Fire Department Explorers Program, mentoring young people in our community and preparing them to serve our community. 

You hear it all the time – kids today are different.  

“Young kids now all they know is phones and computers.  They don’t get out and see the real world.  That’s all they do is computer stuff and when you ask them to do a manual job they kind of look at you like, what are you talking about?  They have no clue,” said Tony Garcia, Kern County Fire Department.  

Garcia is trying to change that.  

For three decades he’s spent his extra time mentoring young people in our community through the department’s explorers program. 

“This is a real taste of reality and this is what you need to do to be able to survive in the world,”

Hundreds of teens have learned skills necessary to succeed in life from Garcia. 

“I’ve had kids come in and they’ve never seen mop or a broom or know how to clean up their room,” Garcia said. 

A few weeks into the program and Garcia said it never fails, parents will show up at the fire station asking for him. 

“Their parents say, “what did you do to my son,” and I say, “oh no here it goes.”  They they tell me he’s doing his laundry, he’s vaccuming.  I say, “Really?  Good.  That’s what it’s all about,” Garcia said.

It’s also what Garcia is all about. 

“He’s awesome.  He pushes you to do better.  I’ve known him for a couple years now and he’s like an uncle,” said Selena Valencia, KCFD Explorer. 

“He’s very passionate about his job.  If he’s not on shift he’s working with us.  I think that’s one of the reasons why we look up to him because he’s so passionate about what he does and he loves what he does,” said Jaylina Lopez, KCFD Explorer. 

“I’m very proud.  I mean I have three guys that are Battalion Chiefs in our department that started with me when they were 16 years old.  It means a lot.  It’s a big, big accomplishment for me,”

Tony Garcia, thank you for your “Kindness Behind the Shield.” 

If you’re interested in being a part of the explorers program, you can contact Garcia at 330-0164. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.