One might say that John Nieto has a fiery passion for life. While employed at the U.S. Postal Service, he became increasingly intrigued by the fascinating daily routine of his next door neighbors at Los Angeles County Fire Station 26 in La Puente. It struck a chord with his inner yearnings to help people in need, to serve his community, and to "be outdoors."
Although the Post Office offered potential promotions, he decided to change careers and become a firefighter.
After graduating from Mt. San Antonio College in 1974, John joined the Los Angeles County Fire Department and never looked back. In fact, his fiery passion grew. Dedication and hard work soon paid off as he moved up the ranks to become a Firefighter Specialist, Captain, Battalion Chief, Acting Assistant Fire Chief, and ultimately his current position of Assistant Fire Chief in 2002. Currently assigned to Division VIII, Chief Nieto directs the day-to-day operations of a unit that consists of three battalions, 20 fire stations, and over 300 employees. The division oversees fire services for five cities and four unincorporated areas in the Pomona/San Gabriel Valley.
A native of the San Gabriel Valley, Chief Nieto enjoys working with the communities he grew up around. He believes the personal knowledge of the area gives him a distinct advantage in managing emergency situations.
Always demonstrating a desire to help others, Chief Nieto plays an active role in the communities he serves. He is a board member of the American Red Cross and the Industry Sheriff's Youth Activities League. He is also active with the Association of Chief Officers, the Fire Warden Association and the Pomona Optimist Club.
Chief Nieto is also an advocate for youth and for encouraging those interested in pursuing a career in fire services. A memorable experience was in 2004, when he accompanied Explorer Post 19 on a trip to Germany, where members learned about the German fire department.
Chief Nieto and his wife Leticia have two adult children-daughter Tisha and son Fidel (also a Los Angeles County firefighter)-and one grandson, Diego. Off duty, he enjoys spending time with the family, hiking, swimming and traveling.
On the occasion of Mt. SAC's 61st Commencement, we celebrate the notable accomplishments of Chief John Nieto and proudly recognize him as a distinguished Alumnus of the Year.