Steven Anthony Hester joined the New Orleans Fire Department in 1992, beginning his career as a firefighter at age 22. He was born December 26, 1969, to the late Rose M. Boguille, and grew up in New Orleans. He served in the U.S. Navy, where he was trained in aircraft and shipboard firefighting.
With the NOFD for 18 years, Steven was skilled and ready for action when responding to emergencies. He had a natural talent for his profession and was named 1993 Fireman of the Year by the American Legion for saving a young boy from drowning. Over his career, he received two Awards for Valor from the New Orleans Firefighters Association, a Special Recognition Award from the Veterans of Foreign Affairs of the United States, and a Certificate of Commendation from the American Legion.
A man of strength and great courage, Steven served unwaveringly when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005 and independently initiated rescue and evacuation of citizens after being released from duty. He received a Hurricane Katrina Commendation from the NOFD for his actions. Years later, a woman stopped Steven on the street to thank him for saving her life during the storm, saying she could never forget him. He was promoted to captain in 2010, earning one of the top scores on the test. He spent the majority of his career at Engine 21, also Engine 18, and as captain at Engine 39.
Six of Steven’s closest cousins are also with the NOFD, and they’d regularly go fishing on their off days. He felt fishing calmed him after being on duty. Once, when his daughter was six months old, he caught a sheephead fish that was bigger than she was! Steven also enjoyed watching the Saints play football, BBQing, dancing, playing video games, and watching movies. He attended church regularly.
Nicknamed “The Rock,” Steven had a quiet passion about him. Steadfast and stoic, focused and determined, he looked at life philosophically like the lyrics in the song “My Way.” He was well-liked and respected by his fellow firefighters and always had a joke, a look, or an entertaining story to tell. Like so many of our bravest and most heroic, he never thought he deserved accolades for what he did on the job, but was a man worthy of tribute.
Steven’s death is a great loss to many, but his beautiful daughter, Aenea, misses him most. His wife, Kylia, finds a reason to smile in the laughter and happiness of their daughter. He is also survived by his in-laws, many family, friends, and colleagues of the NOFD.
Steven responded fearlessly and with bravery whenever called for duty. He lived life his way. May his life and good deeds speak for him and remain in our hearts forever.