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White House to Recognize San Manuel Fire Chief as a 'Champion of Change'

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President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative will name Michael J. Smith, as a “Champion of Change" on Thursday, January 19 for aiding the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians' emergency response capability and establishing a 33-member fire department that serves the region.

Smith will be one of 17 local leaders honored at the White House as a Champion of Change—those who help prepare their communities for disaster, thus building a more resilient community and country. These men and women have applied innovation and creativity in bracing their communities for the unexpected, states a San Manuel Band press release.

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities.

“This past year we’ve been reminded that disasters can strike at any time and that preparedness is critical,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “We commend the innovative practices and achievements that these individuals bring to the field of emergency management in order to make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared.”

To watch this event live, visit on January 19 at 1:30 pm EST.