She came across our radar about 18 months ago and since then, we have seen her grow and mature personally and professionally and meet the challenges of a spinal cord injury head on and we are fortunate to call Mia Gonzalez a dear friend of NorCal SCI. She was also our first Road To Recovery grant recipient and we are now excited to call her a NorCal SCI Samurai as well as our point person for the Fresno County, home to the fifth largest population of individuals with SCI in Northern California. The meaning of Samurai is basically translated as "those who serve" or "to serve and attend" and that's what Mia has volunteered to do.
The 22-year-old Fresno native was training to be a firefighter in September of 2017 when she suffered a T9 injury during a hike. Despite her injuries, she managed to graduate at the top of her class, in her wheelchair, from the accredited City Fire Academy she was attending at the time of her accident. Nine months after her accident, Mia had the opportunity to use her previous fire experience. She started volunteering and interning with Fresno Fire Department Investigations Unit and less than a year later, Mia was hired on.
“As a former firefighter, I’ve dedicated my life to serving the community. My goal is to share my story through keynote speaking presentations to help others overcome obstacles they face, whether it’s physically, mentally, spiritually or emotionally.”
In her capacity as a Samurai, Mia will be present at many community events and support group meetings to further extend the reach of NorCal SCI’s programs and services available to residents of Fresno County with SCI in order to make a difference for the newly-injured and their family by serving and attending to their significant needs while navigating the many challenges they're likely to face.
Welcome Mia. We’re so happy to have you on our team.
Nick and Franklin,
NorCal SCI co-founders