Bernardo “Bernie” Rodriguez
FDNY Firefighter Engine 95
FDNY Hispanic Society, First Vice President
Born and raised in Washington Heights to Dominican immigrants, I was brought up with a deep-rooted sense of pride for my culture and a love for my countrymen. Washington Heights in the ‘70s and ‘80s was the manifestation of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. The Heights was far from prefect, but everyone knew you and we all took care of one another.
I was blessed to have always gone to school in The Heights. From kindergarten at Reina Daycare Center on 167th St. and Edgecombe Avenue to finishing some college credits at Boricua College on 155th St. and Broadway and everything in between. Even most of my jobs were in The Heights. The first job I had once I received my working papers in 1988 was serving burgers at McDonalds on 170th St. and Broadway. I also worked for “C.L.A.V.E.”, a vocational school provided by Alianza Dominicana, which served the youth of Washington Heights. I served there as a computers instructor and now I am proudly serving my community as a New York City Firefighter stationed in Inwood, NYC.
My community has always been my affinity. Being able to serve, help and uplift my community is my enduring passion. Becoming a New York City Firefighter was my dream and I am grateful because through my profession I can serve my people, not only as a first responder but also as a role model for others.
Today I am the Vice President of The FDNY Hispanic Society. I am the first and only Dominican to ever hold the position since it was formed in 1962. The FDNY Hispanic Society is an organization devoted to uniting and improving the quality of life of its members, as well as contributing to the civic and cultural endeavors of the Hispanic community at large. Along with the FDNY and other affiliated groups, the FDNY Hispanic Society has contributed in diversifying the FDNY. Efforts to achieve this include everything from career day presentations and recruitment to marching in almost every parade that represents the Hispanic/Latino culture.
Favorite Dominican Dish
All of them!!! But I have a special place for arroz con frijoles negra y rabo