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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2024

Readiness through career progression

By Carlos Cuebas Fort Buchanan Public Affairs

Members of the installation Fire and Emergencies Services Department, family, friends, and the community gathered at the Directorate of Emergency Services headquarters to witness Winfrid Melendez's promotion ceremony to Assistant Fire Chief of Operations on Jan 31.

"I have been here two and a half years, and Winfrid has done nothing but impress me. He handled complicated contracts with ease. He successfully established new procedures that allowed our department to function more efficiently, especially while spending funds. Today, he is being rewarded for his great performance," said Robert B. Stuart, Chief of the Fire & Emergency Services Department.

Meanwhile, Col. Charles N. Moulton, Fort Buchanan commander, expressed his appreciation for Melendez's service.

"It is always a pleasure to participate in promotions. Melendez had to compete for the job and undergo a very selective process to obtain this critical position. We are very proud of you. It is great to share this moment with your family and friends. I am looking forward to the great things you will do in the next few years," said Moulton.

One of the most significant moments occurred when Melendez's family, led by his father, Victor Melendez, a former firefighter, pinned the insignias on the newest Assistant Fire Chief's uniform.

"I feel very proud of my son. He has always wanted to be a firefighter since he was a little boy, following my example. I proudly served as a firefighter at the Ponce Municipal and State stations. I am happy to see my son continuing my legacy," said a teary-eyed father.

For Winfrid Melendez, this is a great moment that reflects the results of working as a team.

"This promotion represents many years of hard work and sacrifice. However, this is an achievement that I could not done by myself. The family, the crew members that work with me, my mentors, people around the post, everybody collaborated in some part to help me achieve this promotion today," said Melendez, who is a native of the El Madrigal neighborhood in Ponce.

As the new Assistant Fire Chief of Operations, Melendez is now responsible for the daily operations of his shift and must be ready to become the incident commander during any emergency response at the only U.S. Army installation in the Caribbean.

Inspired by the Installation Management Command culture of service, the Fort Buchanan Fire and Emergency Services Department's mission is to provide citizens with proficient fire suppression, emergency medical, technical rescue, hazardous materials intervention, and fire prevention services.

Fort Buchanan is the Army's home in the Caribbean and is critical in enhancing our warfighters, their families' readiness, and quality of life. The installation serves a diverse military community of Reserve and National Guard units, the Marine Corps Reserve, and the Navy Operational Support Center.