20th Annual Fire Hogs Fallen Heroes Memorial

August 31, 2018

What an event Saturday, July 14, 2018, turned out to be! With more than 200 bikes and close to 300 people it was one of the biggest Memorial events to date. The Fire Hogs motto of “Ride to Live and Live to Give” carries through the Fire Hog’s heart and soul and was never more evident.

If you missed it, here are the highlights: as the national Fire Hogs president, I welcomed the crowd and recognized Chief Al Poirier, UFLAC President Tony Gamboa, LAFRA President Bob Steinbacher, and Jim Finn from the Historical Society. Also, in attendance from other clubs were Wind and Fire from San Diego, Compton Fire Fighters, the Punishers, Iron Spartans, Harley Owners Group-Top Rocker Chapter, and my friends Don White and Greg Smothers from Tennessee. The Fire Hog’s Board presented flowers to the families of members lost: Cassandra Stewart, wife of Fire Hog Keith, Val Lawrence, Melanie Allen, Cheryl Smith, Sandra Marquez, and Mitch McKnight.

The Gold Coast Pipes and Drums, with Fire Hog Rudy Santiago on the drums, ushered in the LAFD Honor Guard. The flag salute was led by VP Armando Diaz, with the National Anthem sung by retiree John Lee. Chaplain Danny Leon, (in his full Fire Hog attire) blessed the participants and families. Val Lawrence and Diane Vigil spoke about the LAFRA Family Support Group and explained the need for volunteers.

Glenn Allen’s grandson Nate, and Dave Bell, best friend of Keith Stewart, rang the ten bells. The Gold Coast Pipes and Drums then closed this portion with Amazing Grace, which left many of those hardened bikers in tears.

The Fire Hogs partnered with ICANLA to host the opening ceremonies. ICANLA serves the community with programs for adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Through ICANLA, Hermosa Coffee Co., which employs people with developmental disabilities, was hired to serve coffee, and kombucha for the refreshments at the opening ceremonies.

North End VP Raul Miranda then gave the riders instructions and it was off to Gladstones with a line of bikes as far as an eye could see. Scott Gill arranged to have all the fire stations along Sunset to be out at attention as we passed. The LAPD conducted a traffic break at PCH and Sunset to allow the bikes to get into Gladstones. Less than an hour later, the entire entourage was heading up Malibu Canyon. A call was made to the Cantina so all could come out and see the group arrive.

Thanks to the hard work of Jay and Cheryl Freeman, Taylor Gaskins, Bob Sturgeon, Kurt and Craig Williamson, Craig Yamashiro, Carl De Bono, Armando and Chris Diaz, Katie Wise, Ashley Aaland, and the staff at the Sagebrush, the Cantina was ready. The band “Pet Rocks” was in full swing as the folks came in and their famous Tex-Mex BBQ—which was included with the event – was ready to go. The 100 plus silent auction and live auction items were on display, along with the Fire Hogs merchandize for sale.

The auction started with a beautiful Jim Vels designed custom painted Fire Helmet in yellow. After fierce bidding, SGVFD Fire Hogs Manny Vasquez beat out a host of others to win his prized procession. Next, Jay and his Raffle Crew started drawing raffle numbers and the prizes started flying – gift baskets of cigars and fine liquor, riding apparel, pelican products, a signed basketball by NBA Laker star George Mikan, and a 42” Smart TV. One of the most prized silent auction items was a Gibson Guitar donated by Fire Hog Jon (Bulldog) Jesolva and his wife in memory of their son whose passion was playing the guitar and who was lost four years ago in a tragic accident.

The live auction continued with two passes to the Mikey Garcia v Robert Easter boxing match at Staples Center. It included an “Insiders Experience” offered by the donor, Jack Reiss, retired LAFD captain and boxing referee legend. The battle for these tickets was heated between LACoFD Fire Hog President Al Bustillo, and Hogs Bennie Orrantia and Russel Bell who combined their salaries to combat the bids by Al. But Al eventually persevered and came up the victor.

Next up was the other Jim Vels designed custom painted Fire Helmet in red with a Fire Hogs theme. The bidding started at $2000 and moved up from there. Jon Galiher and Bennie Orrantia eventually joined forces and bought the item together. The next thing those two brothers did was truly amazing – they decided to loan the helmet to the Museum or LAFRA to display for all to see – Right on Brothers!

The 2018 Stamy Challenge award for most donations went to Dan Costa – more than $10k with $7300 in cash. Darrell Smith was presented a Fire Hog supporter shirt and patch designed especially for him – Darrell and his family have attended almost every Fire Hog event and I’m sure you’ve sampled his fine BBQ at Hope or Hogs Breath. Jay and Cheryl Freeman were recognized for their 17+ years of coordinating the raffle, Kurt Williamson and Bobby (Skulls) Sturgeon were recognized for their fundraising efforts for the last 10 years, and Terry Miranda for her continued photo journalism of the Hogs. I also want to recognize Wendy Wise, for putting up with me and carrying on with the coordination of the event in my many absences.

Here are our sponsors – without their support this event could not exist:
Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association
Al Hewitt Inc.
Tom Lindstrom RV Sales
Highridge Costa Construction
Lewis, Marenstein, Wicke, Sherwin& Lee LLP
Straussner & Sherman
Rescue Wipes
Jim Vels
Independent Settlement Services
Nationwide Property & Appraisal Services
Pelican Products
Carrington Charitable Foundation
UFLAC
Firefighters First Credit Union
Sagebrush Cantina
Anza Hotel
Mission Viejo Country Club
Lazy Dog Restaurants
Fire Plaque
Sam Brown
Clear Capital
Related California

If you would like to view all of the photos from this event, go to https://terrymiranda.smugmug.com/View-your-photos/Solvang-2013/Memorial-Ride-2018/

We are riding to the IAFF Memorial September 11-15, 2018 where Dave Moorman and Kelly Wong will have their names placed on the Wall, and to Sacramento September 29, 2018 for the Cal FF Memorial. ALL ARE WELCOME on these adventures. Our next event is the Hogs Breath BBQ on SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 in Long Beach.

Members can find info on becoming a Fire Hog and on upcoming events at www.Firehogs.org. Join us on Facebook @ Fire Hogs M/C LAFD, follow us on Twitter Fire Hogs M/C

By Jack Wise
Photos by Terry Miranda

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