OUR BOARD & STAFF

Our Board of Directors and Staff strive for excellence every day, and it's our pleasure to serve our Firefighter heroes when they need us! Please enjoy getting to know us by checking out our photos and bios. If you ever have any questions please give us a call or stop by our office. We love visitors, we have really good coffee, and we'd love to meet you! 

Hometown: San Diego, CA

 

Why FFAid: It's unlike any other Fire Department group. Our goal is to help in times of need and not worry about political issues. We look out for our brothers and sisters who sometimes just need a helping hand.

 

A person who inspires you the most: My grandfather, he always has a heart for helping others and sticking up for what is right. He loves my grandmother, our family, and his friends with all his heart.

 

How do you give back: I volunteer with the San Diego Fire Cadet program as an advisor. I help show high school kids what the job of Firefighting is all about. They participate in ride alongs, drills, and a weeklong academy during the summer. 

 

Tell us something about yourself: I’m just getting into woodworking, I really enjoy the challenge of it, and have made a few of the furniture pieces in my house, just don’t look at them too closely.

Brandt Truver

President 

Hometown: Hacienda Heights, CA


Why FFAid: I have been involved in the fire community my whole career, so in retirement, FFA is a great fit. 

 

A person who inspires you the most: My Father, Jose M. Garcia. He immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1926 with his brother Thomas. I am so grateful for all of his hard work and sacrifice. It gave me the ability to accomplish so much and make a great life for his grandchildren.

 

How do you give back: I am an advocate for the Retirees and their Families. 


Tell us something about yourself: Married 40 years to my wife, Jolee, I have 3 children and a grandbaby girl. I retired after 31 years on the San Diego Fire Department.

Arnell Garcia

Vice President

Hometown: Born and raised in San Diego, CA

 

Why FFAid: I love to help people when they are in a time of need.  What better way to help our fire family and their families during their times of need.  

 

A person who inspires you the most: My 103-year-old grandma who lives in Escondido.  She has always had the best outlook on life.  She says, "you can't always control what happens to you, but you can control the way you respond to it.  It's about your attitude and sometimes things are just an 'oh-weller'."

 

How do you give back: I would love to have more time to formally volunteer, but as of now I just try to bring a positive vibe, a bright smile, and an open ear to anyone who wants it. 

 

Tell us something about myself: I have been married to Micah for eleven years and we have a nine-year-old son named Evan. I love to be outside, I enjoy time with friends and family.travel

 

 

 

 

Kelly Doan

Secretary/Treasurer

Hometown: Fairfax, VA

 

Why FFAid: After having to reach out to this organization for help during my time of need, I saw the quality of board members and their deep desire to help any member of our fire family. I knew then if given the chance I wanted to be a part of an organization like that.

 

A person who inspires you the most: My father. A man who grew up during very hard times in his grandmother's boarding house. He became a successful self-made man through hard work. Throughout his life, he was always guided by his principles and his moral compass. His whole life he was very excepting of others' beliefs and backgrounds, this was in a time and place that many were not. He always placed family and friends first. He continues to be an example for me and my children to live up to.

 

How do you give back: I mentor firefighters with cancer through the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.  


Tell us something about yourself: I love surfing as often as I can. I love an afternoon espresso and checking out different craft breweries here in San Diego.

Dan King

Board Director

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Why FFAid: The Relief Association and FirefighterAid help in so many ways already, but what drew me to it was the endless possibilities to provide aid to our fire department brothers and sisters. The staff is motivated and selfless and is an overall great organization. I’m so proud and humbled to be a part of.   

A person who inspires you the most: My wife Lisa. She inspires me with her work ethic as a second-grade teacher, but even more so by the way she is so kind and caring to everyone she interacts with. 

How do you give back:  I currently give back to the SDFD Cadet Program as a battalion advisor. I’ve worked with FirefighterAid for the past few years at the 9/11 Stair Climb. I’m excited to be a part of future events and volunteer opportunities.

Tell us something about yourself: I enjoy surfing, boxing, welding, and doing projects around the house.

 

 

Geof Cummings

Board Director

Hometown: San Diego, CA

 

Why FFAid: Over the years I have worked with the FFA both in my capacity with the department and also in personal times of need. In each instance, I was struck by the unique and special role this organization plays in supporting the firefighter family. Now retired and an empty nester, I have the time and capacity to serve in this important organization.

 

A person who inspires you the most: My Mom. She is an amazing individual who has dedicated her life to serving others. As a wife and mother of firefighters, she is a die-hard supporter of the fire family along with being an incredible mom and grandmother!

How do you give back: Through my church and other support groups I try to give back some of the incredible blessings I have been provided.


Tell us something about yourself: I served over 33 years with SDFD and was fortunate to work in many different areas but my greatest accomplishment is my family. The smartest thing I ever did was marry my wife Erin 29 years ago. The most difficult thing I ever did was to then proceed to have 4 children in the first 5 years of the marriage!

Kenneth Barnes

Board Director

Hometown: Danville, CA

 

Why FFAid: For me, it’s about helping others.

 

Person Who Inspires You the Most: My sister Courtney, she has inspired me since childhood. Overcoming obstacles and not using excuses to hold her back. She sets a goal and executes it.

 

How Do You Give Back: I volunteer my time at the San Diego 9/11 Stair Climb event and others. I built and created the SDFD Mustache Bash event, and 100% of the funds raised support the CAPP program. I also am involved in the SDFD Cadet Program. I am helping to mentor our youth to obtain their dreams of becoming a firefighter.

 

Something About Myself: I love my fiancé Chelsea and our dog, Kirby. Our main passion is to travel and see the world!

 

 

Sean Brambir

Board Director

Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA

Why FFAid: I was hurt on the job in 2015. I was hospitalized and spent several days in the hospital. FirefighterAid rallied behind me and my family. They picked up my family from the airport and then put them up in a hotel. I’m not sure if that seems like a big thing or not, but it was huge for me and my family. I will forever be grateful. 

Person Who Inspires You the Most: Both of my folks are my inspiration. Even though they are both retired, they still work tirelessly to give back to their community.

How Do You Give Back: I am always trying to give back to my department. I have helped by being a Peer Supporter for other members who are in a time of need. It was been a rewarding experience.

Something About Myself: I love to travel and teach. If I’m not working or travelling, I can be found teaching. To master a subject, the best way is to learn it, do it and then teach it to someone else. I love sharing knowledge with others.

Ben Vernon

Board Director

Hometown: Upland, CA

Why FFAid: I have been a FirefighterAid supporter for the past 22 years and have watched the organization transform and grow from a “back seat” perspective.  During most of these years I had never found the need to reach out for assistance or utilize the benefits that FirefighterAid has had to offer; that was until my family went through a crisis of our own when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Now successfully across the other side of the bridge with cancer, it is time to give back and show my appreciation to the fire family with more than just words.

Person Who Inspires You the Most: My young boys inspire me the most because of they way they view life.  Their natural curiosity, optimism, unbiased views and the simple joy they find in the most ordinary things are a continuous reminder to me of how awesome life is and how fortunate we are.  They have taught me that no matter how difficult life may seem or when the stress of everyday life adds up, it will always be better tomorrow (or after a good nap).

How Do You Give Back: By saying “yes.”  Opportunities come along in all of our lives, some exciting, some scary, some out of our comfort zone.  However, by simply saying yes, I’ve have been lead down roads I had not anticipated for myself and have been provided opportunities to give back in ways never before imagined.

Something About Myself: I’m a daydreamer.  When it looks like I’m in deep thought there is a good chance I’m thinking of some wild idea or planning my dream house on a remote island in the pacific and not solving the world’s problems.

John Brubaker

Board Director

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Why FFAid: One of the best things about the fire service is the brotherhood/sisterhood. In the morning, we leave our families at home to be with our families at work. It's something that is very unique to the fire service. Being able to lend a helping hand to our fellow brothers and sisters in their time of need continues those family traditions and allows us to give back to those who came before us.

Person Who Inspires You the Most: My mother. Growing up, she sacrificed so much for us and showed me what it really means to take care of those you love.

How Do You Give Back: I'm a Battalion Advisor for the SDFD Cadet Program and an instructor at the San Pasqual Reservation Fire Academy. As a previous cadet, I am certain I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the Cadet Program. While I was trying to get hired, I had instructors/mentors that selflessly guided me in the right direction. I try to follow in their footsteps and give back to others what they gave me.

Something About Myself: I love to travel and experience different cultures. I'm just trying to add more stamps in my passport!

Corey Teng

Board Director

Hometown: Sweetwater, TX

 

Why FFAid: Charity begins at home and FD still feels like family 

 

A person who inspires you the most: Fr. Vince Ahern. A man of great character, faith, and personality.

 

How do you give back: I volunteer in many ways through my church and local community

 

Tell us something about yourself: I enjoyed the job a great deal, I am enjoying retirement more. Travel, golf, and leisure are great. I highly recommend it.

Greg Donnelly

Board Trustee

Hometown: Rolling Hills, CA

 

Why FFAid: I spent 31 years in the Fire Service and loved it! We gave unselfishly to those who called. I can’t think of a better way to assist our brothers and sisters who gave of themselves at their own risk for the sake of others.

 

A person who inspires you the most: My dad. It has not always been so, but he has steadfastly stuck with who he is. He’s 93-years-old and continues to be the kind, gentle man he’s always been. He served in the Marine Corps 12th Defense Battalion during World War II and was in the first wave of soldiers during the Battle of Peleliu. He played baseball for the Chicago Cubs then gave it up to raise his family. He’s had a long full life and is a wonderful role model of a person.

How do you give back: As Firefighters, we give ourselves in service to others. Service on behalf of others brings me a sense of fulfillment. In retirement, I’ve found that giving back provides that sense of fulfillment, and so I continue to find ways to give back.

Tell us something about yourself: I’m married to a wonderful woman, Jane. She’s been a nurse at Scripps Hospital for 27 plus years. We’re husband and wife and best buddies as well. Between the two of us, we have four grown children and two dogs!
I love being active and outdoors. At any given time, you can find me in or around the ocean surfing, paddling, swimming or walking on the shore. I like yoga and I play golf poorly… but still trying.

Jon Handley

Board Trustee

Hometown: Reno, NV (The Biggest Little City in the World)

 

Why FFAid: In 2012 I volunteered at the San Diego 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb event and that was it. I had seen FirefighterAid in action, those they help, and what they stood for, that was it. I was SOLD! I knew I had to be a part of this amazing organization.

 

A person who inspires you the most: My 85-year-old grandmother. She has 7 children, 28 grandchildren, 20+ great-grandchildren and is an absolute badass. She does yoga daily and could benchpress me. My grandmother and my mother inspire me to be the best mother to my two daughters, Ella and Ava. I want to be a strong female role model for them and other women. 

 

How do you give back: I try to find a way to give back every single day. If you are open to it, you will see ways to give all the time. I volunteer, but most importantly I try to raise my daughters with these same ideals. It's important to create generations that are kind and that give back.

 

 

Tell us something about yourself: I LOVE Taco Bell. Like love, love it. Crunchwraps are life. 

Hometown: Endicott, NY

 

Why FFAid: I was very little when 9/11 happened; it is one of my first school memories. FFA seemed like a natural fit to honor and remember my family, friends, and neighbors who immediately responded to the call for help. I always wanted to give back and support those who protected and served my state and our country. Through FFA and the firefighter family - even while in California - I know that I am serving my purpose and giving back to those who gave everything.

 

A person who inspires you the most: My Grammy always inspired me when I was growing up. My great-grandmother always told me to be myself and follow my passion. She had a lot of attitude and sass despite being so petite. I always keep her spirit and mentality with me, helping me be as confident and compassionate as I am today.

How do you give back: I like to help my brother's Boy Scout Troop - even when I am on the other side of the country. I also like to participate in long-distance running events to support charities close to my heart: Invictus for Coach Hynes, Breast Cancer Awareness, and local initiatives to help preserve history and culture. 

Tell us something about yourself: I love baseball - minor and major league. I grew up going to minor league games every few days with my mom, and now, I like to go to as many major league games as possible. 

 

Gabrielle Rockwell

Community Engagement Representative

 

Hometown: San Diego, CA

 

Why FFAid: This has been a dream of mine to work for the SDFRA and with FFAid since I was little. I am looking forward to giving back to the fire community and to help serve the men and women in their time of need. 

 

A person who inspires you the most: My parents Arnell and Jolee Garcia. So often when I make decisions, I think of them and what would make them proud. They have taught me to be kinder than necessary, and that generosity is one of the most important things in life. They have led by example, and everyone who has had the blessing of knowing them can attest to that. Love you!

How do you give back: Caring for others has and will always be in my blood. I started volunteering at the age of five with a non-profit organization that offered burn survivors support and education in both fire and burn prevention.

Tell us something about yourself: I eat acai bowls like they are going out of style. 

 

Marisa Nunes 

Manager of Operations

 

CARING FOR FIREFIGHTERS FOR OVER 100 YEARS

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