the Fire Department's next fire chief.
Stefano's contributions include organizing the department's
wellness program with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, taking charge of reporting statistical data, representing the
department to a fire chiefs association, coordinating reserve
firefighters, mentoring new ones and teaching fire technology at the
community college level.
"But when the bell rings, can he do the job? Absolutely," Macey
Stefano was nominated for the prestigious Orange County Fire
Service Overachievers Award in 1999.
He began his career in Laguna Beach as a reserve firefighter in
1995 and was hired full-time in 1997. He was promoted to fire
engineer in December 2000 and to captain less than six months later.
Stefano has a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Cal
State Long Beach and a master's degree from USC.
He lives in Laguna Beach with his wife Michelle and their daughter
Sofia, both of whom attended the luncheon.
"Make no mistake -- fire service is a team job," Stefano said.
"I'm only a representative of the other 40 people in the department."
Stefano was presented with proclamations by Exchange Club
President Katy Moss, Mayor Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider, Sharon
Ashauer on behalf of Supervisor Tom Wilson and a representative of
state Assemblyman Chuck Devore's office.
"A lot of cities in South County do not have their own fire and
police departments," Pearson-Schneider said. "People here are proud
that we do."
A volunteer fire department was created in Laguna Beach in 1919.
The first station was built in 1931 where the Laguna Beach County
Water District building is located.
T.E. Seaman was the first chief. He had five firefighters. The
department went "pro" in 1948, but reserve firefighters still play an
"Reserve is a nice way of saying volunteer," Macey said. "The
reserves volunteer their time and talent. They carry a pager 24/7,
365 days. It doesn't go off at opportune times. Its 3 a.m. in a
driving rain or sitting down to dinner or as your kid is teeing off
in his first game."