Asst. Fire Chief Kevin Fildes honored by Chamber

March 21, 2012
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Fildes was honored by the Chamber of Commerce as the Public Safety Officer of the Quarter at the March Good Morning Santa Paula breakfast meeting.

The Chamber-sponsored event was held at Glen Tavern Inn’s Enzo’s restaurant.

“Santa Paula needs people like Fire Chief Rick Araiza and Kevin when we have a crisis,” said GMSP Moderator Ben Schuck.

Araiza said introducing Fildes “is a great pleasure... he’s celebrating his 30th year with the department, the longest tenured firefighter on our department now.... He’s been serving since 1982, first as a volunteer firefighter, and he was one of our first captains” when the department hired full-time personnel in 1995. 

In 2005 Fildes, known for his good nature and dedication to the safety of Santa Paula citizens, was made assistant chief, and Araiza said he had even more responsibilities in recent months. “This last quarter Kevin has been extremely busy; he was acting chief for two months” when Araiza recovered from surgery. 

Fildes also handles all SPFD prevention programs, haz-mat operations and business inspections, among others. During Araiza’s absence Fildes also had to direct the Building & Safety Department, which is under the SPFD’s operation. 

“Now when I came back,” Araiza said, “Kevin immediately took two weeks off! He’s on vacation now.”

Fildes is married to Patti, a Ventura County Fire Department Dispatch supervisor, so, joked Araiza, “he gets to talk to her a lot on the radio! Kevin is also a foster parent,” on top of his and his wife’s blended families.

Fildes said his career has been a happy one: “I love working with Chief Araiza... he was my chief when I was a captain, but we were never side-by-side until I was made assistant chief. I really enjoy my job, and every day I get up to do my job alongside Chief Araiza is a great experience.”

Fildes said he also loves being a foster parent: “Bringing someone like that into your family is the greatest!”

Schuck said considering Fildes’ accomplishments, the Chamber honor is “probably is insignificant.... Put this plaque where somebody can ask you about it.”

Fildes also received a Certificate of Recognition from the office of Assemblyman Jeff Gorell.

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