Carlos Guillermo Smith, an openly gay man running for the Florida House of Representatives, on Jan. 29, received the endorsement from the Florida Professional Firefighters organization.

“We believe (Carlos) will honorably serve the citizens of Florida, and the interests of the men and women employed in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services, who have made the protection of life and property their life’s work,” said FPF President/CEO Jim Tolley, in a news release.

The Florida Professional Firefighters, is a state association chartered by the International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO-CLC. Founded in 1944, the organization claims a membership of more than 24,000 paid, full-time professional firefighters and EMS personnel.

Guillermo Smith, seeking House seat 49 in Orlando, called the endorsement “incredible” and his campaign released a childhood photo of the candidate holding a fire hose at a demonstration.

“Even as a kid, I admired the hard work of our firefighters,” Guillermo Smith said. “Now, I am honored to have the support of these everyday heroes who have committed to protecting Florida’s citizens and creating a better future for our state.”

The governmental affairs manager for Equality Florida, Guillermo Smith said it is important first responders receive fair compensation and benefits in exchange for their sacrifices.

“It takes real courage to enter burning buildings and save lives,” Guillermo Smith said.

If elected, Guillermo Smith would become Florida’s first openly gay Latino man to serve in the House of Representatives. He is currently running unopposed.