Carl Andriano: A man of character, rigor and grit

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Carl Andriano, an Orlando firefighter, was a man of character, rigor and grit.

His family, friends and fellow firefighters know that firsthand.

They have raised funds to create a scholarship to celebrate his memory.

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Carl adored his profession. The 24-year-old was committed and driven, setting a goal to become one of Orange County’s youngest lieutenants. He also was a true fighter for life. Last November, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer, which he fought valiantly. His fellow professionals rallied on his behalf, raising thousands of dollars.

He attended Florida State Fire College, and in May 2008, joined Orange County Fire Rescue. Carl was initially stationed in Windermere. But he desired a greater challenge and worked his way up the ladder to Fire Station 30 in Orlo Vista, one of Orange County’s most prolific.

Colleagues admired Carl for his work ethic, integrity and professionalism. They raised more than $30,000 for Team Andriano, and $25,000 will go toward scholarships for students in Valencia College’s firefighter training program in honor of Carl Andriano.

Team Andriano continues to raise funds in his honor. You may donate here and use the drop-down menu, or include as the notation on your check.

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He left behind his beloved fiancee, Courtney Day, along with: his grandfather Edward Mullis; grandmother Rose Mullis; grandmother, Irene Myers; father, Dominick Andriano; mother, Linda Mullis; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

His dear friend Robert Boone and his soon-to-be father-in-law, Mike Day, created this scholarship along with his fellow firefighters.

Here is what the Orlando Sentinel reported:

“He’s a really good fireman,” said Lt. Jimmy Berry.

Andriano spent his own money for additional training, which enabled him to work in specialized positions, such as driving a ladder truck.

Fire Chief Otto Drozd said Andriano made an impact in the community during his short time in the service.

“He was well-respected and well-loved,” Drozd said.

The Fire Department became Andriano’s life.

After Andriano was diagnosed with cancer, his peers rallied to support him as much as they could, coining the phrase: “He’ll forever be 30 strong” — a reference to their station number.

More than $30,000 was raised for “Team Andriano” to help with his medical expenses. Now, money will go toward scholarships for people who want to attend the fire academy.

Andriano didn’t live long enough to become a lieutenant. But during his years at Orange County Fire Rescue, Andriano — an only child — gained many brothers.

“We would take a bullet for each other,” Berry said.

Assistant Chief Jose Gainza Jr. said he watched as firefighters from Station 30 and across the region came together rally behind Andriano, his fiancée and family.

Downtown Orlando streets were shut down briefly to accommodate Carl’s funeral procession.

A memorial tribute celebrates his life.

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Here is the Team Andriano Facebook page.

Thank you, Carl Andriano, for putting yourself in harm’s way to keep our neighbors safe. I am grateful to his family and friends for entrusting Carl’s legacy to Valencia, where another generation of firefighters will train.

kudos to desiree quinto! desiree graduated from valencia in 2011 and from ucf in 2012. and on she goes!

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By: Adam Rhodes, Central Florida Future

Imagine finally getting that job offer that has seemed so far away for so long. Now imagine getting it on national television.

For Desiree Quinto, a 2012 UCF graduate, that was her reality on Oct. 13, when, after two long years of job hunting, she was offered a job as a discovery specialist for her dream company, Birchbox, on Good Morning America during a segment about college graduates struggling to find work.

“I love the transparency there and the culture of the office,” Quinto said of the company. “CEOs are walking around, sitting side-by-side with their employees and getting to know [them]. There’s so much inspiration and room for growth. Ever since I walked in, I knew it was where I wanted to work.”

While Quinto was sure of her desire to work for Birchbox, she had no idea about the outcome of that Good Morning America segment.

“I had no idea,” Quinto said. “Even [that] morning I had no idea that was happening. I got in there at 5 a.m. and couldn’t be near TVs or have my phone.”

Even before she graduated UCF with an interdisciplinary studies degree, Quinto said she had been applying to places in New York City in hopes of moving there after graduation.

During her time at Valencia College, and then UCF, Quinto immersed herself in volunteer and non-profit work.

At Valencia, she became a member of the Model United Nations. Then at UCF, she made the dean’s list a handful of times and became a member of the Nonprofit Management Student Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Through those organizations, Quinto was able to become a certified nonprofit professional.

It’s that nonprofit experience that Quinto said made her competitive in the job market.

Even with that competitive edge, Quinto said, she still had trouble landing a job, despite getting relatively far with several interviews. Since graduation in December 2012, Quinto had been in South Florida working at a Mexican restaurant, Baja Cafe Dos.

But that’s all about to change as she makes her journey to her dream city.

As a Birchbox discovery specialist, Quinto will work directly with customers either over the phone or online through social media and email.

“She really showed us that she cared about the customer experience and what it really means to work with a customer and give them a great experience,” said Melissa Enbar, director of recruiting and talent development for Birchbox. “She showed us she was curious and asked a lot of questions. She was interested about the job in the company.”

Aside from Quinto’s curiosity and people skills, Enbar also said she stood out thanks to the research she did about the company.

“She was really knowledgeable about Birchbox,” Enbar said. “She did her research on what we do and how we do it.”

This coming weekend, Quinto is able to finally live her dream of living in New York City as she moves to Queens to start her position as a discovery specialist at her dream company.