To some he is Fireman Oscar, to others he is The Bull or Engineer Gutierrez – but to us, he is always Dad. Growing up with our dad on the Fire Department definitely came with its perks – rides on the fire truck, school field trips to the fire station, getting picked to put on the turnouts when “Fireman Oscar” came to school, and so much more. While we celebrated many Thanksgivings and Christmases growing up at the fire station on folding tables on the apparatus floor, we never felt like we were missing out on any holidays. It was different, but it was our own special experience with an extension of our family. Our dad instilled a level of trust in us with regards to the department from a very young age; a trust and respect that he had for all men and women on the job that he could confidently send his children to any station – at any time – and know that they would be taken care of. He always told us that if we were ever in trouble to go straight to the nearest fire station. As an adult, dropping by the station to say hi or bringing friends by for one of his arguably award-winning tours was always something we looked forward to. It’s surreal to think of our dad no longer on the fire department because that’s really all we have ever known. For 43 years (39 years in rank), he served the City of Los Angeles on the Los Angeles Fire Department. He knew his job inside and out – but more than that, he loved his job. Seeing his sacrifice and dedication, his selflessness and pride, his compassion and conviction, and his humility and joy, few people, if any, can ever lay claim to getting to do what they love so much for so long. You can always feel how connected he is to the Fire Department and how much his work is also a special part of who he is. Our Dad loved being an Engineer, in the very truest sense of the word. To that end, each and every day on the job was a gift, one that he will keep close to his heart forever. He inspired all of us to pursue a career based on our passions because when you love what you do, it’s never just a job. Instead, it affords you the opportunity to live a life fulfilled and driven by purpose, just like him. We believe that there are some people who continue to embody all of the attributes we assign to firefighters long after they go on their last run. Our Dad is kind. He is helpful. He is brave. Our Dad is a hero. He’s not one of the good guys – he’s one of the best! That’s just who he is. That’s who he always will be. The Bull. Our Dad.
Love you, Dad—Nina, Nicholas, and Jessica