San Manuel Band fire chief honored as Champion of Change

Michael Smith, the fire chief for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California, will be honored at the White House tomorrow as a "Champion of Change."

Smith started the tribe's fire department. His efforts have improved public safety on and off the reservation, the White House said.

Smith will be among 17 people who will be a part of a ceremony tomorrow at 1:30pm. It will be webcast at

The full White House information follows:
Michael J. Smith serves as the fire chief for the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, an American Indian Nation located in southern California. Chief Smith joined San Manuel to aid in the development of the Tribe’s emergency response capability, ultimately establishing a 33 member fire department which serves the region under the California mutual aid system as well as a robust community preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery nexus. San Manuel Fire at the direction of the Tribe has routinely answered calls beyond the reservation during times of community and nationwide emergency. Chief Smith has personally been deployed to aid in the recovery of 9-11-01 attacks and gulf-coast hurricanes and has worked directly with other tribes to enhance their emergency service capacities. Chief Smith currently serves as the President of the California Tribal Fire Chiefs’ Association and remains a licensed paramedic. He voluntarily serves on the local sheriff’s air rescue team as a flight paramedic. Chief Smith is a graduate of the National Fire Academy as well as the University of Redlands.

Get the Story:
Tribal fire chief receives White House honor (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 1/17)

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