Citizen-Soldier-Firefighter: Dan Frontera
Dan Frontera grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY in a family where service was a way of life. His father was a Veteran along with most of his uncles. His Dad and one uncle were both volunteer firemen.
So, it’s no surprise that Dan would follow his family’s example of service and grow up to be both a soldier and a firefighter. Soon after seeing the National Guard in action supporting his community during a blizzard in Buffalo and while still a senior in high school, Dan enlisted in the Army National Guard as a Medic.
Over the next fifteen years Dan’s experience during community emergencies and deployments with the military further formed his own vision of service to the community.
In early 2000, a good friend and life member of a neighboring fire company convinced Dan that the volunteer fire service might be a good fit and in June of that year Dan joined Reserve Hose Fire Co in West Seneca, NY. Soon after becoming a member, Dan’s other skills as a grant writer began to have an impact on Reserve Hose. Since then, he has helped raise more than $300,000 for his fire company.
As with many Americans, Dan’s world changed on September 11, 2001 and he deployed to New York City as a member of the National Guard to assist with efforts at Ground Zero. Dan was serving as a Lieutenant with Reserve Hose in September 2004 when he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Leaving a wife and one year old daughter behind was tough, but his new family at Reserve was there for him to support his family through the entire deployment. His brother and sister firefighters shoveled snow, took out the trash and in May of 2005, even painted Dan’s house.
Dan came home from Iraq on Veterans Day in 2005. After a few months of rest and getting reacclamated, Dan returned to the volunteer fire service in January of the following year to continue his service to the community.
In the spring of 2006, Dan’s experience as a volunteer firefighter would be put to great use when he was assigned to lead two national efforts for the AmeriCorps based in Buffalo, NY. The first involved deploying AmeriCorps members to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to support recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina. The second effort involved the creation of the AmeriProCorps – an endeavor to engage first responders as AmeriCorps members who would train the community in preparedness and the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.
Currently Dan serves as an assistant fire chief with Reserve Hose in West Seneca and is actively supporting Veterans through programs like the “Veterans Art Engagement Program” and the creation of an Iraq/Afghanistan memorial in Western New York.
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