In the opening minutes of the State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Donald Trump made it a point to thank Santa Maria firefighter David Dahlberg, who helped rescue 62 children and staffers as a raging wildfire closed in on their summer camp.
Dahlberg, a fire prevention technician with the U.S. Forest Service, was the first emergency responder on scene when the Whittier Fire threatened the Circle V Ranch Camp in Santa Barbara County on July 8.
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“David faced down walls of flames, to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by those devastating wildfires,” Trump said. “To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands — everywhere — we are with you, we love you, and we always will pull through together. Always.”
Dahlberg was one of 11 of Trump’s honored guests at the president’s speech before Congress. According to the Associated Press, many of the honorees were selected because they amplify the speech’s theme this year: “Building a safe, strong and proud America.”
“Thank you to David and the brave people of California. Thank you very much, David. Great job,” the president added.
Dahlberg is stationed out of the Santa Lucia Ranger District in Santa Maria.
Tribune staff writer Kaytlyn Leslie contributed to this report.