BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Fire Department Senior Management Analyst Norma Valdez has received the 2022 Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) Ray Picard Award. She is the first civilian and female ever to receive the award which recognizes leadership and outstanding contributions to the CFAI as well as fire and emergency services.
In announcing the award, CFAI officials said Valdez has been involved with accreditation since the beginning, when LAFD was selected as a beta site for the accreditation process.
“According to one of her colleagues, she has since been continually a part of the Department’s accreditation, having ‘vision, dedication, heart, balance, determination, and the desire for continuous improvement to keep LAFD’s accreditation quest alive and striving, always being the one to carry that torch towards success’. Ms. Valdez serves as a champion of the accreditation process, both in New Mexico and beyond, and exemplifies the spirit of Ray Picard in receiving this award,” the announcement said.
LAFD Chief Troy Hughes said Monday that it was an honor to nominate such a deserving individual for the award.
“Norma is good to her core and a true role model for how to live your life in service to others. I am ever grateful to call her my friend. She is beyond deserving of this recognition,” he said.
The Los Alamos Fire Department is internationally accredited through CFAI.
CFAI established the Ray Picard Award. in 2000. to recognize Chief Ray Picard’s vision in pioneering quality improvement for the fire and emergency service. Chief Picard was one of the earliest champions of the self-assessment and accreditation process that has led to a culture and paradigm shift within the fire service.