On Wednesday evening, October 28th, the City of Oakland Park held a Fire Rescue pinning ceremony at Jaco Community Center. The City made history as it promoted Captain Monica Maldonado, Oakland Park’s first Latina, female Battalion Chief.
Fire Chief Stephen Krivjanik hosted the ceremony. Though it was unlike years past, there were no refreshments, and social distancing and masks were in place, the ceremony commenced anyway. Also in attendance were Broward County Mayor Dave Holness as well as Oakland Park Mayor Matthew Sparks.
Maldanado was presented with a white helmet from Chief Krivjanik, which symbolizes the Battalion Chief position. It’s customary for a higher ranking department member to pass the helmets down to the next rank when promoted. Her family was in attendance to place her badge on her uniform—an essential part of the ceremony. Monica holds a bachelor’s degree and is working on her masters. “There’s no better person to take this position”, said Chief Kirvjanik. “Monica is a superstar,” he added. “This is an exceptional promotion.”
There were several other promotions as well: Jessica Hernandez and Casey Scott were promoted to rescue supervisors. The department also welcomed six new firefighter/paramedics who recently graduated.
One special promotion went to the position of Captain, which went to Jorge Ginzo. Back in July, the department was hit hard with COVID-19. Ginzo fell ill with COVID and was unable to receive his promotion at an earlier date. His mother placed his badge on his uniform, symbolizing a remarkable recovery and excellent rise out of a dark time for the department.
The City of Oakland Park continues to be progressive in hiring female, Hispanic, and African American people to its departments. Showing inclusion and forward-thinking and demonstrating a good representation of the community it serves.
Rhiannon Samoyedny was born and raised in South Florida. She has lived in Oakland Park for over 25 years and purchased her home in Garden Acres in 2012 where she resides with her husband, two teenaged boys, a few rescue cats, and her dog.
Her professional career began as a project manager and estimator for a small Oakland Park construction company and she later went on to earn her degree in Court Reporting, where she later incorporated her own small business RS Reporting, Inc.
She has a passion for gardening and attends many horticulture classes and workshops. She is also an LGA (Local Government Academy) graduate, class of 2019, and an active community volunteer and activist. You can usually find her around town at various Oakland Park meetings and events with her notebook, so be sure to say hello.