Firefighter of the Year 2018 – Engineer Steve Canchola

May 1, 2019

On February 13, 2019, the tradition of honoring one of LAFD’s finest continued as the Los Angeles Firefighters Association bestowed upon Engineer Steven Canchola the title of Firefighter of the Year 2018. With the ballroom of the downtown Double Tree Hotel filled to capacity, the veteran engineer accepted the distinguished award as family and friends, past award honorees, and department members, looked on in pride at his accomplishment. As usual, the two-hour event was a grand occasion to witness in person. Family, Friends, and colleagues came together to honor a humble father, mentor, and exceptional engineer who distinguished himself as a member of outstanding character and loyalty to the Department, the fire service, and the community. Many dignitaries also attended the event, including the Fire Chief who did an excellent job summing up Steve’s career accomplishments, community service, and the significant impact he has had on so many members of the Department.

A dedication to excellence is a trademark of every great firefighter. Steve not only exemplified such designate but exceeded it in so many ways. From Steve’s first apparatus assigned to him as engineer, to his last, each and every rig showed his personal touch of pride. One never had to hunt Steve down at the station. All one had to do was make their way out to the apparatus floor to locate Steve, hard at work—day or night, dialing in his engine, making it a showcase in whatever battalion he was assigned.

Steve is well known Department wide for his training, maintenance, and leadership in the Engineer rank. He has mentored hundreds of members of all ranks and has influenced over 33 members to promote from firefighter to the rank of Engineer. He has been an instructor as well at CORE Engineering classes. Firefighters and Captain’s alike benefitted from his leadership and commitment. If Steve wasn’t polishing, cleaning, or driving an engine, he was thinking about how to make one better. Steve developed a close relationship with the downtown shops and was instrumental in the design aspect of the 2016 Pierce Triple apparatus, giving valuable input to make sure it met the LAFD standards of excellence. Steve has also forged a meaningful relationship with his local communities, hosting an annual pancake breakfast for retired members and taking an active role as a member of his church, St. Paschal Baylon Church of Thousand Oaks.

In 2019, Steve retired from the LAFD, working over 38 years on the Department. During that time, he spent most of his career in busy assignments in places such as Fire Station 94 in the Crenshaw District and Fire Station 66 in South Los Angeles. Engineer Canchola served his final years in the San Fernando Valley, finishing up his tour of duty as at Fire Station 87 in Granada Hills.

As the proceedings came to an end, Steve’s humble speech provided recognition to his mentors and coworkers that he had the pleasure of working with throughout the years, but most importantly to his wife and kids who supported his dedication to the job and allowed him to do what he loved. Though Steve has recently retired and will be missed by his peers, we are sure he will keep plenty busy and we wish him a long, healthy, and happy retirement. Congratulations to the 2018 Los Angeles Firefighters Association Firefighter of the Year—Engineer Steve Canchola.

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