Superintendent/President Ed Knudson and Antelope Valley College Foundation President Chuck Church invite you to the 2014 AVC Achievement Awards Dinner.
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Paul C. Abarquez ('11): American Spirit Award

Paul C. Abarquez
American Spirit Award
Paul C. Abarquez ('11)
Firefighter, Kern County
Fire Dept.

Kern County firefighter Paul Abarquez’s tenacious pursuit of his goals and heroic actions embody the American spirit.

The 2011 graduate of AV College’s Firefighter 1 Academy put his skills to work on June 30, 2013, when he rescued a woman, whose clothes were on fire, from a burning home in Tehachapi. Paul reached through smoke and flames into a hole in the wall, grabbed the woman’s feet, and pulled her to safety.

Paul grew up in Tehachapi, the oldest of four children. He competed in many sports throughout childhood, including football, wrestling, basketball and soccer. In high school he continued in football, track and field and wrestling. Paul also participated on the Agricultural Mechanics team and in a cooking competition on the regional level, placing second, then moved on to the state level, finishing in the top 10 for California in
Commercial Food Preparation.

After graduating from Tehachapi High School in 2006, Paul went on to the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, playing on the football team and majoring in business. One business class convinced him to take another path. His father-in-law, a fire captain, suggested Paul pursue a firefighting career.

Paul changed his major to fire technology and took any firefighter test he qualified for. In 2007 he and his wife moved back to Tehachapi to start a family. He found work at UPS in Mojave as a pre-loader and also worked construction in Tehachapi. He continued taking online fire classes when he could in the evenings.

Paul started the AVC Firefighter Academy in 2010. The class schedule allowed him to continue working two jobs while in the academy. By then he and his wife had two sons. During academy he started testing for the Kern County Fire Department and was placed on the hiring list. He also started his EMT certification.

Over summer Paul was hired as a seasonal firefighter for Kern County Fire Department on Crew 81 and gained wildland firefighting experience.

In September 2012 he was hired full time by the Kern County Fire Department. He completed their 20-week academy in January 2013. Paul is based in Lamont at Station 51. He hopes to continue working for the Kern County Fire Department for 30 years or so, someday moving up the ranks to captain.

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