This month, I want to mention another vacancy, another opportunity to give of your time and make a positive difference. This opportunity requires just a few hours once a year. This October, it would be great to fill every vacant seat at your very own LAFD Annual Firefighters Memorial. This is not the 9/11 Memorial, this is your very own memorial held annually at Old 27ʼs. You might be thinking “I didnʼt know we had a memorial” or “I didnʼt know that so few attended our memorial”—exactly my point! Iʼm writing this to sound the alarm hoping that many of you will seriously consider self dispatching to this year’s memorial.
Especially, if your station or Battalion has ever suffered a loss of one of its members, you should be there. Over the years and recently, weʼve suffered losses from Metro, the Bureau, Fire Stations 73, 95, 1, 60, 57, 95, 27—out of respect would you come to honor the memory and sacrifice of our members? Would you show your love to their families? Is it too much to ask that each division, battalion and station in the city be represented on the 11th? Why not get together and send one, two or more from your assignment to remember our fallen.
If you knew that every year, families, friends and coworkers of members killed in the line of duty or duty related illnesses were present, would you honor them through your presence? Would you change your plans one day out of the year to include a morning to honor fallen members like Glenn Allen, Eric Reiner, Brent Lovrien, Joe Dupee, Ben Pinel, Jamie Foster, Matt McKnight, Tom Taylor, Frank Hotchkin, Robert Gladden and many others—265 to be exact!
By the way, should you be grieving the loss of a retired loved one who passed from natural causes, even an illness unrelated to duty or a spouse, you are just as welcome to join us. The Memorial Plaza, Wall of Honor, Glass Badge, Eternal Flame and the Museum exist to serve as your special connection to the fire family for life, similar to one’s Retirement Badge. Actually, Old Station 27 represents the single common assignment meant to be shared by all members of the Los Angeles City Fire Department active or retired and their families.
With a new Mayor, a newly appointed Fire Chief, new promotions, new firefighters on board and, Lord willing, more on the way, what better time than now to model good leadership. In a Department our size, we have the numbers, we just need the volunteers. One by one, by taking your turn and donating your time as a group, we can all enjoy the benefits of giving back. Its my prayer that other members, even the newest ones, will catch your example and want to follow.
Now thatʼs Leadership!
Show up and give back October 11th at the next LAFD Firefighters Memorial.
See you there.
Chaplain George Negrete