Darrall Gargano is a vital community member who protected Los Banos by voluntarily offering his free time to risk his life fighting fires for 43 years.
Before becoming a volunteer firefighter, he was the manager of Los Banos Lumber and Sales for 34 years. Besides fighting fires, he coached the next generation in Little League and was an advisor for the 4H Agriculture Program.
He heard about the opportunity to be a volunteer firefighter around age 29 from his cousin. At the time, he had never thought about fighting fires. Something about it interested him, so he decided to pursue the opportunity.
During his time as a volunteer firefighter, he gained and sacrificed much. During a Westside Express interview, Gargano explained that, although nerve-racking and laborious, firefighting was fun because of the people.
Gargano said he “fell in love with the brotherhood” created at the Los Banos Volunteer Fire Department. He emphasized the significance of having a strong family support system, specifically when he and his son Brad Gargano nervously fought fires and left their family to serve the people of Los Banos.
Brad, the head custodian for Grasslands Elementary School, started volunteering at the fire department because he was interested in giving back to his community, which he did for 26 years as a volunteer firefighter. He loved the brotherhood and serving alongside his father.
Brad explained it as having two supportive families—a fire family and home family. Darrall and Brad spoke about how it was a different situation every time they went out to firefight.
Some situations contained things that were hard to deal with for anyone, such as death. No one likes to think about it, but it happens every day.
This mindset taught them not to dwell too much on certain things because one never knows when one’s time on earth is up. Even though firefighting had difficulties, Darrall and Brad loved the experience. Brad recommends it to anyone who thinks they can do it and knows it may open a window to a possible career opportunity.
Darrall and Brad have been retired for two years after doing many gracious and charitable acts for the community.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t celebrate this lifetime milestone when they retired due to the pandemic. Luckily, they were recently able to celebrate this milestone this year.
Darrall “enjoyed serving the people of Los Banos,” which is much appreciated. Brad, whose service is also valued, asks the people to “Support our fire department,” which consists of “great people with great qualities.”
Hopefully Los Banos will continue supporting the local fire department by volunteering, donating, attending fundraising events and practicing and educating others about fire safety.

The Westside Express