On April 1, 2020, Dexter McDaniel will end an illustrious career. With 30 remarkable years served, Dexter will be missed by all that he has worked with and worked for. His career is marked by numerous commendations and recognition from families, supervisors, medical institutions, and community organizations for his courteous and professional service. Long before the department donned the doors of city resources with “Serving with Courage, Integrity, and Pride,” and long before the department inscribed in our library the Core Values of “Service, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect, and Trust,” Dexter served the citizens of Los Angeles with care and compassion.
Dexter was raised in Los Angeles and a graduate of John C. Fremont High School in Fire Station 33 District. There, he met his wife of 38 years, Judy, with whom they have one son, Dexter Jr. Dexter is an extraordinary husband and father. He served as a youth coach and mentor willing to share his love, knowledge, and passion to his son and the kids in the community. The McDaniel’s home was open to all and the legendary basketball games in the backyard served as a training ground for several current NBA players.
“His reputation for success has gained the trust of many current members of all ranks”
It was also during these pivotal years that Dexter would influence someone very close to him, Dexter Jr., with a “never quit” attitude and his famous quote, “I do what I say, I say what I do, because I am a man of my word.” Dexter Jr., at the age of 18 sustained a spinal cord injury that prohibited the use of his lower extremities. This was a very trying time for the McDaniel family and as Dexter stated, “It challenged him to believe wholeheartedly what he had preached to so many.” With his parents’ love, Dexter Jr. overcame his injury, and continued his education to earn his degree from Cal State Los Angeles. Today, he continues to thrive, and at the age of 35, competes as a paraplegic body builder, recently winning his first major competition at Venice Beach.
For those of us fortunate enough to work with Dexter, we will decide for ourselves what we cherish most about this remarkable person. However, Dexter’s greatest impact and legacy on the LAFD will be from those fellow members that may have never worked a day with him in the field, but yet praise him as a mentor and friend. For many, it is because of the selfless and caring actions of Dexter that they share a common bond of wearing proudly the badge of the LAFD.
Throughout his 30-year career, Dexter has personally helped more than 100 aspiring firefighters achieve 100% on their oral interview. “DexTex” as it is affectionately known to most aspiring firefighters is a MUST if you want to be considered for the job! Over the last two years alone, he has helped over 100 men and women achieve their goal of becoming a firefighter with Los Angeles and/or other agencies throughout the nation. While others have used their knowledge and experience for personal gains, Dexter, who routinely spends 3-5 hours per session, charges only a recruit class shirt upon graduation. To date his success rate is a staggering 96% for individuals he’s assisted. His reputation for success has gained the trust of many current members of all ranks who have family and friends pursuing a career in the field of fire services. He’s received praise from the City’s personnel office complimenting the quality of the recruit’s interview performance. He has also received numerous calls from outside agencies praising the interviewees’ readiness who have worked with him.
In closing, Dexter has blazed a trail unlike any other before him. His legacy will remain a part of the LAFD for generations to come. His innovation and his relentless belief in others have empowered all that know him to achieve higher! Dexter, from your brothers at Fire Station 79, and on behalf of your family throughout the department, “We wish a long, happy, and healthy retirement!”
By Ephrium Ford, Engineer, LAFD