Takashi Hamada

I decided to become a Firefighter at a young age. My house burned down when I was a freshman in high school and in that moment of being down, the people who were there to pick my mom up and I were the firefighters. Once I started volunteering as a fireman I would go on calls with the paramedics and I was always amazed at the level of skills they had and how they were able to help others. I was drawn to it.

I chose to go to UCLA’s paramedic program because of its reputation. I also got my bachelor’s degree from UCLA and you know what they say, “Once a Bruin always a Bruin.” The staff there were my mentors at the fire station I worked at as well. I also knew some of the graduates from that program and saw how they excelled as paramedics.

I was honored to find out that I was the first recipient of the Mitch Sekine Scholarship. I was not happy just because of the money but because the crew that I worked with at the fire station were classmates of Mitch as well. Hearing stories of his character made me appreciate the honor more. One of my drives for accomplishing paramedic school was Mitch’s memory.
The funding did help tremendously. Being a full-time student with no job and attending the paramedic school in Inglewood was very costly.

During paramedic school, I was offered a job as a firefighter for the City of Santa Fe Springs. The department was kind enough to let me finish the program so I could go back to them as a firefighter-paramedic. The fire service has drastically changed and for a lot of departments most of their calls are medical calls and paramedics are in high demand. I am currently a firefighter assigned on Engine 83.

I would like to thank Mitch’s family for their support. His family has been very kind to my mother and I. I believe that donating to the fund is a great idea because the students who are attending paramedic school are going into a profession to help others.