Local heroes: Dale Leblanc named Firefighter of the Year

Logan Ridenour
Dale Leblanc, Firefighter of the Year, poses in front of a Gonzales firetruck.

Dale Leblanc is a firefighter with the Gonzales Fire Department. Throughout his 12 years serving others, he has participated in countless calls and was recently named Firefighter of the Year for the department.

Born and raised in Gonzales, Leblanc simply wants to help those in the community he calls home. He says his biggest motivation is family. "Just helping people out. I know I have a lot of family in this city. It puts my mind at ease knowing that I know what to do if anything happens," Leblanc said.

His 24-hour shifts begin by checking the trucks so that all the equipment is ready at a moments notice. Once that is complete, him and his fellow firefighters wait for a call.

During his time at the Gonzales Fire Department, Leblanc says he has grown close with the other firefighters. "You know what to do for each other . . . most of the time you can look at somebody, and you don't have to say anything. You just know exactly what they need to be done," he said.

A lot of their bonding is done while waiting for these calls. Leblanc's face lit up while talking about the various meals they will cook for each other on a regular basis. "A lot of fattening meals, a lot of good cajun meals," he said when describing the dishes.

When a call does come, Leblanc says he often thinks of his family. "It obviously takes a toll, knowing that could happen to my kids. I have three small children. It makes you think," Leblanc said.

However, these thoughts don't keep him from focusing on the task at hand. "It's scary. It's scary, definitely. You just got to get the job done. That's what we train for."

And thankfully, Leblanc doesn't see himself going anywhere, anytime soon. "I've been here 12 years, and I don't see myself going anywhere," Leblanc said. "It's just what I do. I like doing it. I enjoy helping people."