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Firefighter honored for three decades of service

An emotional Felix Ledesma is congratulated by Woodbury fire officials Lad Miller, left, and Todd Johnson for his 30 years of service during a Feb. 4 Public Safety Department ceremony. Staff photo by Scott Wente.1 / 2
After 30 years of fighting fires for the city of Woodbury, Felix Ledesma retired last week. Submitted photo.2 / 2

Felix Ledesma hung up the hose for the last time on Saturday after exactly 30 years as a paid on-call firefighter for the city of Woodbury. It wasn't an easy decision to make, he said.

"It took me three months to get to the point where I could feel comfortable about this," said Ledesma, who, at 60 years of age, was the oldest member of the city's roster of full-time and paid on-call firefighters.

"I love the fire department and the friends I made there over all those years. It's not easy to just hang it up," he said.

The Upper Afton Road fire station he passes every day on his way to and from his job at Ecowater serves as a reminder. It has served as a second home since his first day as a volunteer firefighter in 1980.

Last Thursday the Woodbury Public Safety Department recognized Ledesma's service to the community by awarding its first-ever "Lifetime Achievement" award during its semi-annual recognition ceremony.

Ledesma is the first paid on-call firefighter to put in 30 years of continuous service in the city, said Woodbury fire services commander John Wallgren.

For perspective: less than three percent of volunteer firefighters make 20 years of continuous service, Wallgren said.

"Felix is someone who has done a great job of demonstrating leadership within the ranks," Wallgren said. "And he's been doing that from the get-go."

Read more about this story in the Wednesday, Feb. 10 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.