Pro-gres-sion: The process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state.
On April 4, 2018, the LAFD moved towards a more advanced state as the Los Angeles Firefighters Association honored their first-ever female Firefighter of the Year—Rosa Torres-Tufts. Not only was Rosa the first female firefighter honored with this award, she was also the first Arson Investigator bestowed with the title. With the ballroom of the downtown Double Tree Hotel filled to capacity, the 34-year veteran accepted the distinguished award as family and friends, past award honorees, and department members, looked on in pride at her accomplishment.
The two-hour event began with a brief meet and greet as participants gathered to personally congratulate Rosa and catch up with co-workers and friends. The LAFD Honor Guard was present as the Pledge of the Allegiance was recited and a wonderful rendition of America the Beautiful was sung by Rosa’s sister xxxx. Department Chaplin Danny Leon gave the benediction, and LAFD’s own David Frelinger presided over the event. He introduced Fire Chief, Ralph Terrazas who honored Rosa with a praise-filled speech, which was followed by other civic leaders. B/C Mike Castillo of the Arson Section presented Rosa with an engraved plaque, thanking her for her service and praising her for her dedication. A touching speech and a presentation of a bouquet of flowers was also given to Rosa by family members that nearly brought tears to all in attendance. The event concluded with the presentation of the Firefighter of the Year Award by the Firefighters Association’s President, George James. Rosa gave a humble acceptance speech acknowledging all in attendance and thanking them for their presence and their influence in making her who she was today.
The Firefighter of the Year nominee is selected by vote of the members. Rosa’s nomination was put forth by her superiors and co-workers who praised her by stating that the foundation of Rosa’s success lies within her hard work, character, integrity, and devotion. Her standard of service, duty, leadership, and effectiveness are fundamental elements that characterize Rosa’s dedication. Rosa has demonstrated through commitment, teamwork, teaching, mentoring, and engaging in numerous department and community projects.
Rosa began her firefighting career in August of 1983. Just eight years later she attained the rank of engineer, serving 14 years in some of the busiest assignments in the City. Her current position as Arson Investigator was attained in July of 2005, where she still serves today. Rosa works with the LAPD Major Crimes Division as a Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigator.
Taking on the role of instructor, Rosa has taught courses and developed programs to enhance organizations such as NFPA, IAFF, DHS, and FEMA. This equates to reaching thousands of firefighters, law enforcement, public health, and private first responders throughout the nation. Rosa has been driven by a sense of possibility, a vision of success, and the ability to positively impact those around her.
Rosa has been a positive influence impacting not only LA firefighters, but public safety professionals throughout the region. She has mentored and instructed hundreds of first responders, students, and career firefighters for more than three decades. Her impact has been far reaching, extending well beyond her LAFD roots.
It is not only an honor to highlight some of her accomplishments, but a privilege to acknowledge a respected member of the Fire Service. Congratulations Rosa Torres-Tufts—Los Angeles Firefighters Association’s 2017 Firefighter of the Year.
By John Hicks