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Solid Waste Employee Renders Aid to Fallen Resident

Employee of the Week: Gary Urtiaga

October 20, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized Gary Urtiaga, a residential recycling truck driver for the City’s Solid Waste Management Department, as the Employee of the Week.

Several months ago, while Urtiaga was driving his usual route in Southwest Albuquerque, he noticed that a resident had fallen in front of her home while trying to put her recycling cart back into its storage location. During the fall, the resident suffered a broken wrist. Urtiaga immediately jumped into action by safely moving his truck over to the side of the road, notifying his dispatch of the situation, and rushing to render aid to the resident. The Solid Waste dispatch team was able to put in a call to emergency services while Urtiaga tended to the injured resident. While waiting for medical help to arrive, Urtiaga calmed and comforted the woman and never left her side. Even after assistance arrived from the Albuquerque Fire Department, Urtiaga waited to ensure the resident was loaded into the ambulance safely before getting back into his truck to continue serving residents along his route.

With 3½ years of service with the Solid Waste Management Department and 16 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Los Lunas Fire Department, Urtiaga was well trained and prepared to handle an emergency situation. He never thought twice about taking action, but instead immediately offered help. Urtiaga’s caring and compassion for this resident, along with his willingness to get back in his truck to finish his route, are what truly set his actions apart.