An open house is a situation in which all visitors are welcome. A perfect description of the spectacular event held on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association’s Annual Open House Event. With the doors of the facility wide open, our fabulous volunteers ushered in guest from all over the Department. Special thanks to Virginia Newcomb, Ann Munsell, Anne Henzgen Rose Franco, Maria Riley, and Marshall Stevens for being our official greeters.
First things visitors experienced was the fun photo booth set up by Robin Webster, wife of Firefighter Jerrod Webster. She was there eager to assist the crowd with a lasting memory of the day. If you were adventurous, Dee Delacruz was in place decorating arms and faces with temporary (we hope) tattoos to brighten spirits and bring a little youthful spirit to the event.
Coming out of the elevator, guest were immediately struck with the aroma of delicious food being prepared for the afternoon event by Evolution Caterers. Hors d’oeuvres of caviar and cream and shrimp skewers circulated the room preparing the guest stomach for the main menu. A wide variety of food choices were available for our hungry participants compliments of Chef Dennis Timashpolsky. From a grilled Italian sausage seasoned with sautéed onions and assorted bell peppers, to a garlic and salt crusted slice of prime rib, choices of cuisine were abundant. If you had a sweet tooth, an assortment of baked goods were just a guilt-free reach away for all to enjoy. On a liquid diet, a spirit bar was in full operation serving vodka to gin and everything in-between. The specialty cocktails, a “Gogo Prosseco” and a “Pink Lemonade” Prosseco Spritz also kept the crowd’s thirst quenched, along with an assortment of soft drinks and other non-alcoholic drinks.
Eating and drinking was not the only thing to do that afternoon. A little shopping was also available for those looking for gifts for their loved ones or just themselves. Just outside the rear doors of the Relief, The Fire Connection set up a number of tables filled with an assortment of shirts, shorts, and accessories, with the proceeds to benefit the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighters Fund. Thank you to Kelly for being so attentive to the members. Most attendees were there for the camaraderie, and they were not disappointed. Over 200 people filled the large room decorated with fragrant and beautiful arrangements of flowers provided by Tomlinson. Old memories were shared by members while new ones were created. It was hard to find a face without a smile on it. One smiling face seen racing from one area to another was the Relief’s own, Juliet Brandolino. If you had a good time, please drop her a quick email (Jbrandolino@Lafra.org) and say thank you for her months of hard work preparing for the day’s event.
Bob Steinbacher started the formal festivities off by introducing Jack Wise and a large contingent of Fire Hog members that attended the day’s event. The Fire Hogs once again showed their generosity by presenting the Relief Association with a check in the amount of $22,000 for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighters Fund. If that wasn’t enough, Fire Hog John O’Conner also presented another check for $7,500 to the Association. This money was the proceeds from the sale of ex-Fire Hog Pete Goff’s 2004 Harley Davidson. Pete was the Fire Hog’s Sergeant at Arms until his passing in 2018. Pete’s son Brian generously donated the bike and it was auctioned off at the Fire Hogs Annual Fallen Heroes Memorial ride in June.
Next, Relief’s intern President Jeff Cawdrey introduced this year’s honoree—Captain II Rick Godinez. Rick has worn many hats over the years for the Fire Department and the Relief Association. From LAFD Captain, to Relief Trustee, and finally lead Chaplin for the Department. His tireless effort and commitment to the Department’s members is well known.
Rick began with thanking the Relief for allowing him to be part of it. He continued on by thanking his wife Terri for understanding and caring about his duties away from home. As Rick praised his children for the life they lived, Jeff Cawdrey presented Rick’s wife with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Rick has one other passion not previously mentioned—Softball. His team the Gangreen honored their captain with a brand-new game hat.
With the formalities coming to an end, Bob Steinbacher presented Captain Godinez with a fabulous decorated helmeted created by Sam Brown (Sam Brown Shields) and thanked him once again for his service. Bob last order of business was to say farewell to Dave Wagner, who will be stepping down from the editor’s position of The Firemen’s Grapevine in January after over 12 years of manning the reigns. If you get a chance, send Dave an email (Editor@Lafra.org) thanking him for his dedication for a job well done.
If you were not able to make it out to the event this year you missed another great day of tasty food, laughter and fun, and just plain old camaraderie. Our thanks go out once again to everyone involved in making this year’s open house another huge success.
LAFRA Honors Rick Godinez
Character, Dedication, Loyalty. These three words best define Captain II Rick Godinez. A man of distinguished character with a true love of God, his family, and the members of the LAFD. His unselfish actions throughout his career has shown his dedication of duty, with the wiliness to sacrifice himself for his fellowman.
Rick has served 35 years with the LAFD, 23 years as a fire officer. He decided to be a firefighter in high school after he and his brother visited Fire Station 87. In his senior year, he passed the written test for the LAFD, however failed the physical agility (halyard-pull). At the time he only weighed about 150 pounds, and decided if he was going to be successful, he would have to become an LAFD explorer and gain some muscle.
He presently serves as a Captain II, Senior Chaplin, Relief Association Board Member, member of California Task Force-1 and the Critical Incident Stress Management Team. His administrative assignments and details don’t even begin to scratch the surface of his devotion to serve the City and the LAFD. From teaching children in basic fire safety, to advising city officials on Affirmative Action Boards, Rick has the unique ability to effectively communicate with all ages, and all walks of life.
If Rick didn’t wear enough hats, he is also the Senior Fire Chaplain for the LAFD and is available 24/7 in this capacity. This position is voluntary and is not compensated. Rick was chosen to lead and coordinates eleven chaplains and two trainees. The chaplains coordinate active duty and retired memorials, weddings, hospital visits, attend various ceremonies, and provide invocations and benedictions
Rick has been a a loving and devoted husband for 29 years to his wife, Terri, and father to daughter, Marisa (27), and son, Nicholas (26). They enjoy recreational time together camping, hiking, biking, fishing and volunteering together in their church and the community. As a family, they have participated in Habitat for Humanity projects, student ministries/youth groups, and homeless outreach. Rick also coached his children’s soccer, little league, flag football and volleyball teams. Rick and Terri work together in their homebased bakery business, “Confetti Café.” Their specialty is French macarons, but they also specialize in gluten-free and vegan pastries.
Rick has served as a LAFRA Trustee for over 10 years. On the Relief Committee, he has assisted dozens of widows and orphans at their most difficult of times of loss. As the chair of Marketing & Development, the committee has raised over a million dollars. He is also the “founder” of the Family Support Group, his team is presently assisting over 800 LAFD widows. Rick’s volunteer work for LAFRA truly captures the association’s purpose of fraternal care of one another. For his continued commitment to excellence, not only in his professional life, but in everything he does, The Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association honors Captain II Rick Godinez for a life well lived. Congratulations Rick—well deserved!