Dennis James C. Mendiola has been named the new commissioner of the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
He will replace assistant fire chief Juan A. Pua, who has been the acting DFEMS commissioner since May.
A former resident deputy commissioner serving the Rota DFEMS, Mendiola is also a retired captain in the U.S. Army, a former chairman of the Luta Soil and Water Conservation, and a son of Rota.
This means he will bring years of emergency management, environmental awareness, and military experience to DFEMS, according to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who announced Mendiola’s appointment yesterday.
“Dennis is a young, driven, and accomplished public servant who has demonstrated leadership in every position he has held, whether it be in DFEMS, in the Army, or volunteering his time within the community on Rota. He is an advocate for protecting lives during emergencies and community service,” said Torres. “Lt. Gov. [Arnold I.] Palacios and I are confident that he will serve the Commonwealth admirably.”
Torres added that Mendiola’s appointment is part of the administration’s priority to include residents from Rota and Tinian in the Cabinet. “His experience and ability to work with our firefighters on all three islands will bring efficiency and innovation for the department,” Torres said.
Mendiola said he intends to continue the work that DFEMS has done in terms of protecting the community during emergencies and to increase efficiency and to promote innovation in its services.
“…It is my goal to ensure that our firefighters and emergency medical technicians promote our department’s mission of saving lives and protecting property,” Mendiola said.
He also thanked Torres and Palacios for including individuals from Rota and Tinian in the Cabinet. “This ‘One Marianas’ mindset is an important priority. …For Corrections Commissioner [Wally] Villagomez from Tinian and myself from Rota to serve the Commonwealth really reflects bringing everyone from the Marianas together to make lives better for every single person who calls these islands home,” he added.
Mendiola looks forward to creating partnerships between the government and the community that he said will be a critical component to the effectiveness of DFEMS’ services.
“Collaboration with both government agencies and community organizations will be important in our work as firefighters and EMTs. My goal is to work with others and to really hone in on this ‘One Marianas’ mindset that benefits the people of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Working together will lead to collective success for our department and our government,” he said.
Mendiola received his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration with a minor in Military Science from the University of Guam. He is currently working on his master’s degree in Public Administration with a capstone in Human Resources from the American Military University.
Mendiola’s service in the U.S. Army encompasses training and certification in weapons of mass destruction, confined space operation, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear operations, along with numerous tours to several countries. He was commissioned as an air defense officer and was detailed to the chemical corps. He was medically discharged in 2015. (PR)