FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Dear Board Members of the Menlo Park Firefighter’s Association,
I would like to nominate Ngoc Giau Nguyen for the Pete Chanteloupe Firefighter of the Year Award for 2021. I met Giau for the first time when she came through our interview process in 2013 and I knew that if we were smart enough to hire her, we were going to get an experienced firefighter with a passion for the Job, someone who embodied the idea of service. Giau has proven herself, time after time to be the one who shows up.
Regarding Firefighter/Paramedic Nguyen’s quality as a firefighter, she was introduced to the profession in her late teens and she used her boundless energy, focus and desire to learn, to train in all different disciplines within the Cal Fire organization. During her off seasons she worked in the construction trade, pouring concrete primarily, learning how to build things. She came to Menlo Park Fire after a decade in wildland and construction, bringing that considerable skill set with her. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Giau many times over the years and with her diverse skill set, cool head and incredible work ethic she’s an asset to have on any call.
Giau thrives when she is helping and that shows up in her involvement in the community. There has not been a Menlo Park Fire benevolent act, since she was hired, that Giau has not participated in – whether it’s helping to build out the booth for the Annual Chili Cookoff; picking up, organizing and delivering toys during the Menlo Park Firefighter’s Toy and Food Giveaway; throwing her considerable construction skills into the mix at Rebuilding Together, or assisting in building multiple playhouses for auction; she always makes time to help. In addition to helping our organization with our events, Giau makes the time to help in other communities – where she lives, where her family and/or friends live, where she was born. Since sustaining her own burn injuries, she has participated in Burn Camp multiple times, as well as assisting with other Burn Foundation events. She has helped her fire brothers and sisters in a multitude of ways – from building beautiful tables for their dining rooms, to installing new floors in the home of a crew member, to repainting the bedroom of a complete stranger because one of her fire family needed help to help a sick friend. When one of her fire brother’s family lost their home last year in the CZU Complex, Giau was able to bring her significant yurt knowledge to help get the new abode up and operational. I’ve also seen her raise/donate funds to provide much needed help for the community in Vietnam where she was born.
Giau is an outstanding person to have on your crew and in the firehouse. She’s the quintessential team player, always going above and beyond to make the place better. Whether she is doing special projects, scouring the bathroom floors with bleach for that ultimate clean or knocking an amazing meal out of the ballpark, she goes out of her way to take care of her crew and the firehouse as a whole.
Firefighter/Paramedic Nguyen has made numerous contributions to the Fire District by creating a tremendous amount of goodwill with her participation in our Districts benevolent activities. She participates in training our probationary personnel and has assisted with building props for specialized RIC evolutions. Also, early in her career with Menlo Park Fire, Giau completed her training as a Paramedic adding that skillset to what we offer our citizens.
In our Association, Giau stepped up to take on the Treasurer’s position before her accident. Because of the extent of her injuries and the time it took to heal, she had to relinquish that job. Since that time, she has made sure that our cable is operating smoothly in every station and that all the equipment is up to date. Ms. Nguyen makes all the Firefighter of the Year clocks, created the cutting board for the kitchen at Station 6 and created the beautiful clock presented to Chief Schapelhouman upon his retirement.
With everything I have included in this letter to the Board, there are probably important contributions that I’ve forgotten and probably good deeds that most of us will never know about because that’s just how Giau operates. I am urging you to consider Firefighter/Paramedic Ngoc Giau Nguyen for the Pete Chanteloupe Firefighter of the Year Award for 2021. She embodies the dedication to service that we want to see in our profession.