22nd Annual Hope For Firefighters

June 30, 2019

Early morning June 6 in DTLA, before the bustle of morning traffic, Hope Street was lively with workers, volunteers, and firefighters setting up the 22nd Annual Hope for Firefighters event. Before the event even started, mouth watering aromas from various booths caught the attention of curious bystanders. They crowded the street in anticipation for the event, and at eleven o’clock sharp, lines started to form at the 28 food booths.

To kickoff the event, opening ceremonies were led by the LAFD Honor Guard, Manual Arts High School marching band, and Lea Carranza singing the National Anthem. Then all of Hope Street took a moment of silence with an honorary flyby from Airship Fire 3 in remembrance of our Fallen members.

As the day progressed, emcees Captain Rick Godinez and KTLA’s Mary Beth McDade kept the day’s events moving, and returning band Emerald City kept the crowd entertained. Throughout the day people lined up to take photos with the famous and adorable fire dog, Wilshire, who at 15-years-old displayed the spirit of a young firehouse pup. Walking around you may have run into Kings hockey legend Daryl Evans, who left a team retreat early just to attend Hope. At FS 64’s booth (sponsored by Galloway Asset Management), Firefighter Dave Walters, 2008 Olympic gold medalists in the 4×200-meter relay, and Captain II Kieth Bandy, silver medalist in softball at the Firefighter Olympics, were clad only in their Speedos and prize medals. As the two posed side by side, it was almost eerie how much they resembled each other … okay, it may have been in a “before and after” sort of way, but kudos to the athletes for braving their swimwear in front of thousands of onlookers. Also, Dave is a rookie firefighter, and said being a competitive athlete lead him to pursue a career in the fire service.

Many booths had so many people waiting that you couldn’t tell where the line ended! The Fire Hogs had their work cut out for them as a constant line was formed in front of their booth. They never fail to attract a crowd with their delicious street tacos, selling more than 200 plates. The crowd devoured FS 15’s short ribs, rice, and Chinese chicken salad, and all of FS 11’s pastrami sandwiches, leaving them with no leftovers to take back to the station. FS 76, with the help of their sponsor Johnson Controls, was the only single engine company to make an appearance, selling Philly cheesesteaks sandwiches and naming themselves the “Guardians of the Pass.” TF 2 and their sponsor Capital Group 2 sold spicy elote bowls, representing a popular street dish from their community in Boyle Heights.

With all the appetizing dishes made at the event, FS 2 and their sponsor Capital Group won Best Entree for their elote bowls. They seem to be a judge and crowd favorite, this being their sixth win and selling almost 700 plates. Best Dessert went to FS 98 and their sponsor Red Hawk Fire and Security for their maple bacon popcorn. FS 98 prevailed against FPB’s fresh fruit bowls, which was a refreshing hit in the LA heat.

FS 21 came out with a win for Best Theme with the help of their sponsor Straussner Sherman, a law firm that helps LA firefighters with issues like workers compensation. FS 21 has won Best Theme three years in a row – this year’s theme being Wrestle-Mania. FS 21 members dressed up in insane wrestling outfits and referee attire, even going the extra mile by constructing a fighting ring ready for a match.

Sponsor teams get to battle it out in the muster games, consisting of three events: the bucket brigade, hose cart race, and life net. This year Schindler Elevator prevailed for first place, their first time placing in the muster games, followed by Brookfield Properties and Otis Elevators.

Thank you to Ralphs-Food4Less, US Bank, Brookfield, Allied Universal, and all the generous sponsors for their support of this event. A special thanks to founder Paul Linton, co-chairmen Heather Ross and Steve Robinson, and the Relief’s Juliet Brandolino for coordinating the event. Lastly, a big thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Hope for Firefighters event.

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Inspiring Guests

This year’s event was honored to have Mr. T and Danny Trejo attend to support the firefighters and the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighters Fund.

FS 88 met Mr. T last October in Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks and invited him to the station for dinner. They watched a few episodes of A-Team and Rocky III, having a great time. FS 88 told him about the WODFF and he immediately made a large donation. They also told him about the Hope event and he saved it in his calendar to attend. FS 88 picked up Mr. T in their fire truck on their way to Hope.

If you were lucky enough to meet Mr. T, you couldn’t help but be affected by his radiating positive energy. As he walked down Hope Street, he stopped at every booth to thank the firefighters, saying he “just wanted to show them some love,” and that’s exactly what he did the entire day. He didn’t turn down anyone that wanted a photo or to have a quick word with him, even mugging for a photo with Wilshire the fire dog.

FS 98 met Danny Trejo because their station is located on Van Nuys Blvd near his mural. The community around the station is heavily influenced by Latino culture, and they wanted to show their appreciation to the impact he’s had on their community with their old-school, low-rider, Machete theme. With the help of Danny and the San Fernando Car Club, FS 98 brought our four different car groups to be displayed at Hope.

If you met Danny, you could see that he has such a big heart. He said he was happy to represent the station and the community around them – he even spent Easter at 98’s. Danny said his proudest moments are working with the LAFD. At the end of the event, FS 98 presented Danny with two decorative axes donated by Jason Knight with Fire Ax Inc (Firefighteraxe.com).

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