NASCC Fire Department Adopts Local Preschool for Christmas

Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Human Interest

     At 9:30 a.m., on December 12, 2017, the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi firetruck arrived at the Flour Bluff Head Start preschool on Glenoak Drive.  Several firefighters quickly exited the big red engine as the children standing on the patio of the Head Start building screamed and waved.  These brave men (Captain Weston Beseda, Firefighter Phil Lala, Firefighter Shawn Kotal, Firefighter Eric Santillon, and Fire Inspector Otis Terrell), however, were not responding to a fire.  They were delivering Christmas presents to the waiting children.

     For several years now, the NASCC Fire Department has put smiles on the faces of the children enrolled in the Head Start preschool program in Flour Bluff. This program services families whose income falls below the federal poverty line by allowing the children to be in a preschool setting where their teachers prepare them for grade school. Many of these children’s parents often struggle with having enough money to give their children gifts for Christmas. That’s why the NASCC Fire Department decided to adopt – not just 1 or 2 of the children at Head Start -but all the children enrolled in the program. This year, there were four classes with almost 70 students in all.


     Early each December, a representative from NASCC FD picks up a name card for each child. This card includes the age of each child and a list of items each needs or wants. Often clothing sizes are included because the children may need new clothing. Once these cards are in the hands of the Fire Department, they are disbursed among the firefighters who wish to participate and buy a present or two for a child in need. Presents are then wrapped, sorted, and prepared for delivery. In years past, Santa has helped in the delivery of the presents to the classrooms.  This year he relied completely on the five firefighters to get the job done. They unloaded the firetruck and headed inside with presents galore.


     There they greeted the children and began passing out the presents. They called each child’s name, and one-by-one, each went forward to receive beautifully wrapped packages. Once all the children were sitting down with their wrapped presents, Captain Beseda counted down for the children to tear open their gifts, “5…4…3…2…1…Go!” At the sound of “Go!” the wrapping paper began flying as the children ripped open their presents, bringing ear-to-ear smiles to every face.


     Some say that giving is the reason for the season, and this community project taken on by the NASCC Fire Department proves just that. Not only do these guys take pride in serving our community, they also take pleasure in giving towards community projects such as this. The fire fighters of NASCC Fire Department look forward to continuing placing smiles on the faces of those less fortunate for years to come.

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Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Fire Department

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Human Interest, Opinion/Editorial


     I often tell people that it takes a special kind of person to be a first responder.  As the wife of a fireman, I have become very familiar with the business of emergency services, and I realize that it is more than just a department with staff. These people become a family and establish a brotherhood.  This kind of familial connection in the workplace is something many can’t comprehend because they typically don’t put their lives on the line for each other. That is the privilege of those in emergency services. So often, the only recognition the men and women within these kinds of departments get is for their heroism. That is, no doubt, a very big deal and should certainly be recognized. However, these people also deserve recognition for their “behind the scenes” accomplishments.


     What I mean by “behind the scenes” is all of the countless hours of training, the multitude of classes that they attend, the numerous certifications that have to be completed as they advance in their careers.  The list is lengthy, and rightly so. Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Fire Department has an outstanding group of guys who work together to make their services the best possible.

     On October 19, 2016, I (along with several other family members and friends) had the privilege of attending – and being a part of – a special ceremony held in the bay of the fire department to recognize several men for their recent accomplishments. Fire Chief John Morris leads NASCC Fire Department, and he is winding down on a 29-year fire service career. This ceremony was special because it was his last group of guys to promote before he retires. The following awards were presented during the ceremony:


“On the Spot” Award – Captain Javier Morales and Weston Beseda



Fire Officer of the Quarter (3rd Quarter) – Chief Ward Hawkins


Firefighter of the Quarter (4th Quarter) – Brian Ray


Fire Officer of the Quarter (4th Quarter) – Chief David Flores


     Fire Chief John Morris also recognized three men who are the last group of captains that he would promote.  These three emergency service experts worked very hard to earn their new classification. Those individuals who were instrumental in helping them get to this point also need to receive credit for their encouragement and belief in their abilities.  These mentors helped the new captains become strong and dedicated leaders.  Captain Weston Beseda, Captain Shaun Lemon, and Captain Brian Ray are to be commended for the work they’ve done to earn the new rank.

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     Last, but certainly not the least, Fire Chief John Morris deserves recognition for his dedication to his fire department and staff. Without a strong leader, the fire department would be nothing. The department would not be what it is today without his efforts. I know that I can’t speak for the men within the department, but I appreciate Chief Morris’s service and his desire to make the individuals in his department the best that they can be.  Thank you, for “protecting those who defend America.”


(All photos taken by Katy Beseda and Shirley Thornton)

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