I wanted to thank the 200 Fire Hogs, families, and friends that showed up on Saturday, June 28, 2014, to honor our Fallen Heroes!! What a successful event this was! Successful in the grandest terms of giving back to our Widows and Orphans and making sure they are not forgotten, giving back and showing pride in the Community, and most importantly the comradery we all share within the Fire Hogs and fire service.
John O’ Connor was the master of ceremonies – as only he can – and introduced the LAFD Honor Guard as they brought in the Colors. Dan Curry sang the National Anthem acapella as a true professional. Department Chaplin Rick Godinez led us in prayers and blessings for the ride. Johnny O gave a brief history of the 10 Bells, then introduced Jeanne Urquiza (Ralph Urquiza), Melanie Allen (Glenn Allen), and Valerie Lawrence (John Lawrence), who collectively rang the 10 Bells honoring those lost, including their husbands, while the detail came to attention with salute. Randy Keyes finished the 10 Bell part of the opening ceremony with his bagpiping skills, leaving nary a dry eye among all these harden bikers. Dignitaries who spoke included Chief Deputy Mark Stormes and, representing CD 4, our very own former Firefighter Issac Burke and future CD 4 representative hopeful Carolyn Ramsay. During these ceremonies the Fire Hogs M/C presented to the Historical Society a $500 donation to carry on their good work.
What a day and into the wee hours of the next morning we had. From the perfect weather throughout the day, to the ceremony at the Fire Museum, to the ride along Sunset Blvd to Gladstone’s for that perfect Bloody Mary, along the Pacific Coast Highway through the Canyons of Malibu, along Mulholland Drive and into the Sagebrush Cantina for tacos, libations, and dancing to the heart thumping music of Engineer Jimmy Como’s band – Fullhouse!
With more than 80 packages for the raffle and three live auction items, there were very few that walked away without something (sorry Dale). I think I had the most fun auctioning off those live items, what a blast! Thanks to the Van Blarcom brothers for out bidding each other and themselves. You had to be there as these three items alone brought in over $2,500! The competition for these items was intense. My voice is still recovering!
Gary Stamison (Stami) was the lead force in motivating fellow Firehogs to collect sponsorships for our Memorial Ride and was the creator of the “Member Challenge.” This Member Challenge was a contest that recognized those members that brought in the highest sponsorship each year. Stami won that challenge many years in a row, and as a tribute to him after his untimely passing, the Member Challenge was renamed to the “Stami Challenge” in his honor. I am happy to say that once again Kurt Williamson and Bob Sturgeon where the hands down winners of the 2014 Stami Challenge!
Between the auctions and raffles the dance floor was packed with dancers showing their best moves while the Full House Band kept everyone on their feet with their Rock and Roll sets. The staff of the Sagebrush Cantina got involved by decking themselves in appropriate Fire Hog attire and even won some of the raffle prizes during the course of the event. There is just nothing that can compare to the Sagebrush Cantina on a summer afternoon and this day proved no exception, drawing many of their patrons into our event.
After our Main Event at the Cantina ended at 6 pm, many of us took the festivities back to the Anza Hotel where pool side we were entertained with a pizza party, libations, and antics of those in attendance. Something about the Getting Wet Challenge stands out as the main theme at the pool side. After that it was back to the Sagebrush Cantina where their house band was in full swing with a rocking beat. I understand a few of the night owls closed the Sagebrush Cantina in true Fire Hog fashion!
Thanks to the major sponsors of the Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride including:
• Tom Stafford and Superior Life Support Inc.
• Peter Adams
• Independent Settlement Services
• Virgin America
• Jason Knight and Fire Axe, Inc.
• Sagebrush Cantina
• Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association
• Sam Brown
I wanted to also acknowledge and thank those that worked the months leading up to this event for their dedication and countless hours of hard work without which we would be lost: Ted Kalnas and Vedamay, Taylor and Debbie Gaskin, Raul and Terry Miranda, Kurt Williamson, Bob Surgeon, Tuzz Daddy, Scott Gill, John O Connor and the Iron Lady Michelle, Jay and Cheryl Freeman, and especially Wendy for putting up with me dealing with this ride almost daily for the last six months without one complaint. And to Jim Finn and his staff of the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society who once again opened up their doors at the Museum for us to put on this event, bagpiper John Keyes, singer extraordinaire Dan Curry, Department Chaplin Rick Godinez, Shanon Saffo and his Honor Guard detail, and Fire Station 27 with their cadets. We couldn’t have documented this entire event without the help of the shutterbugs; Terry Miranda and Adam Van Gerpen who not only spent all day taking pictures while the rest of us tore it up. They also created photo albums of the days events for all to see – Go to www.firehogs.org to check out the pics.
There are many more that helped the day of and assisted in other ways that deserve our gratitude as well.
Most importantly thanks to the widows and family members of those lost that showed up to our event. After all it is to their Honor we ride this day!
Additionally, a shout out to the Leatherheads and Iron Brotherhood for once again supporting our rides!!
For those that didn’t make it, it was YOUR LOSS….
Our next event is the Hogs Breath BBQ and Biker games on September 13, 2013.
Members wishing more information on becoming a Fire Hog and information on upcoming events go to our website at www.Firehogs.org. Follow us on Facebook @ L.A.F.D. Fire Hogs, M/C.
By The Prez
Photos by Terry Miranda and Adam Van Gerpen