The Hawaii Fire Department is responsible for several types of first response on the Big Island, including firefighting, emergency medical services and lifeguards on the island’s public beaches.
One of the critical positions within the department is fire equipment operator — the individual who drives the fire engine and operates and maintains the engine and its equipment, including the pumps. Fire Equipment Operator Lono Lindsey was nominated by his bosses in 2018 for Hawaii County Employee of the Year. Assistant Fire Chief Darwin Okinaka said the 39-year-old Lindsey, who works at the Waimea Fire Station, is “really humble and has a really great attitude and work ethic.” Lindsey, a Waimea native and graduate of Hawaii Preparatory Academy and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is a U.S. Army veteran who served as a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief. He said the knowledge of mechanics his military job required “translates, for sure” in his current job “because you’re also responsible for the maintenance of the truck.”