San Manuel is celebrating Women’s History Month by spotlighting five fascinating women. These five women hold unique leadership roles protecting the health and safety of tribal citizens, San Manuel team members and guests.
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has been celebrating women in leadership roles all month on social media and on video displays throughout the property. Honoring women is a longstanding part of the culture of San Manuel. The Serrano women of San Manuel have played immeasurable roles in the history of the tribe. It was predominately female framers who drafted and adopted the tribal governing documents.
The five women spotlighted below go above and beyond the call of duty every day.
Lt. Erika Coil, Department of Public Safety – Before beginning her career with the San Manuel Department of Public Safety’s Entertainment Detail, as a member of the highly visible San Manuel Honor Guard in 2010, Lt. Erika Coil served 12 years with the U.S. Army Reserves as a psychological operations sergeant. Her distinctive military career took her on two combat tours to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is the proud recipient of both a Combat Action Badge and a Bronze Star.
In 2012, Coil was selected as one of two explosive detection canine handlers for the San Manuel Department of Public Safety that would later assist in response to the 2015 San Bernardino Terrorist attack. At the time when Coil was assigned as handler, canine explosive detection dogs were scarce, and having one for a department was rare.
According to Coil, “My greatest achievement as a canine handler was when my canine partner, Indy, and I were called to assist Loma Linda Hospital after it received several bomb threats because all of the victims of the shooting were sent there. Hospital workers found a suspicious box on the maternity ward’s roof and Indy and I responded. We searched the area and deemed the box and the area safe.”
Since 2018, Coil has served in her current role where she is now responsible for all new hire training including advance officer training and annual certifications for firearms qualifications, Taser, and CPR training.
Gena Fowlkes, fire apparatus engineer, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Fire Department – Fowlkes began a career in fire service in 1994 at the U.S. Forest Service before joining the San Manuel Fire Department where she recently celebrated 15 years of service. In conjunction with a fire service career, Fowlkes also enjoys her role as an educator of first responders.
As a medical unit leader, she is responsible for the development of the Medical Emergency Plan, which provides emergency medical treatment to personnel during catastrophic emergencies such as hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and volcanoes nationwide. She was assigned as a medical unit leader on the island of Hawaii in support of the Kilauea volcano eruption in 2018. She is also part of a federal incident management team (IMT).
According to Fowlkes, “I like the family atmosphere at San Manuel. We’re all there to solve problems and learn from each other. It makes the day-to-day working environment very rewarding.”
Ann T. Martgan, chief EMS operations officer, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Fire Department – There are 152 chief emergency medical system officers (CEMSOs) in the world and only eight women in California hold these prestigious positions. Martgan is one of them.
According to Martgan, “It’s been one of the greatest personal achievements of my life to reach this designation as a professional.”
Martgan was born in San Bernardino and developed an interest in an emergency medicine career when she became an EMS Explorer at the age of 14. She joined San Manuel as a paramedic in 2014, and soon after Martgan took advantage of the tribe’s tuition assistance program to earn a bachelor’s degree in public safety and emergency management. In 2018, she wrote “Systemics,” a book that provides a call to action for first responders. Today, as chief emergency medical system operations officer at the San Manuel Fire Department, she is currently completing a masters’ degree in organizational leadership and homeland security.
Martgan said, “My goal is to make sure that every staff member at San Manuel is trained in first aid, has a working knowledge of CPR and is able to handle an automated external defibrillator device so they will be prepared for any medical emergency at any time with the same level of confidence. It’s my passion.”
Samantha Vega, sergeant, Department of Public Safety - After a six-year career in corrections, Sgt. Vega joined San Manuel as a public safety assistant in 2008. She rose through the ranks as public safety officer, field training officer and is now serving in her current role as DPS sergeant.
Through the support of the department, she graduated from San Manuel University’s Leadership Development Series and has recently been certified as a Peer Support Specialist.
According to Vega, “I thoroughly enjoy working at San Manuel because of the various opportunities afforded to their employees. Whether it’s pursuing higher education, career advancements, engaging with our tribe or local communities, San Manuel provides the necessary resources and opportunities for its employees to prosper and achieve their objectives. Thank you to San Manuel for all you have done and continue to do for me and my family.”
Gina Zamudio, lieutenant/watch commander for patrol division – In 1994, after putting herself through the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Academy where she gained a considerable amount of knowledge and experience, Lt. Gina Zamudio joined the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians working in the Casino Division, Patrol Division and Training Division. After applying for a position in leadership, she was promoted to a sergeant in 2018 and to lieutenant in 2019. Currently, as lieutenant/watch commander for the Patrol Division, Zamudio oversees up to three sergeants, one lead public safety assistant, approximately 20 public safety officers and 10 public safety assistants.
For the past 27 years, Zamudio has continued to love her journey at San Manuel because of her respect for the family environment and strong values of the tribe.
According to Zamudio, “I want to be a part of making San Manuel Casino a success. San Manuel continues to provide the same sense of a family environment as it did two decades ago. I have respect for their strong values and want to be a part of creating a sustainable future for the tribe.”