Double the Cheer, Double the Fun

November 30, 2018

2018 LAFRA Open House

The doors opened just before high noon for another memorable open house event at the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association. Located at 7470 North Figueroa Street, the multi-story building filled with the sounds of laughter as the crowd of over 250 people gathered for the festivities. Cold drinks flowed and the abundant smell of delicious food permeated the senses as friends, family, and members prepared to honor two men who have done more than their fair share for the Relief Association.

As people arrived, they were greeted at the front door by our fabulous volunteers. Special thanks go out to Lydia Andrews, Toni Hunt, Virginia Newcomb, Anne Munsell, Marshall Stevens and Karen Barnhill. Across from the greeting table, Firefighter Jerrod Webster, owner of Photos and Fountains, set up an entertaining photobooth that allowed members to let loose and capture some memorable shots of themselves with their friends and family. Speaking of memorable shots, David Blaire graciously lent and displayed his collection of pictures chronicling the department’s history for all to see. Thanks Jerrod and David!

As people exited the elevator into the main hall, they began to witness all of the hard work that went into making the day a success. If you get a chance, send Juliet Brandolino, our Event Coordinator, a quick email and thank her for her hard work managing everything. Table after table covered the entire area of space on the bottom floor of the building. Floral arrangements by Tomlinson adorned each table that were filled to capacity by guests. Outside the rear door, the overflow of people spilled out onto the patio area to grab a cool drink and peruse the plethora of shirts, shorts, and accessories displayed for sale by The Fire Connection—proceeds to benefit the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund.

Hors d’oeuvres of crispy chicken sliders, potato skins, and shrimp skewers began to filter through the crowd. A superb lunch followed, which included carved prime rib, roasted turkey breast, grilled Italian sausages, potato salad, and a tomato, cucumber, and red onion salad, all served promptly at noon by Cornucopia Catering.

Bob Steinbacher started the formal festivities off by introducing a group of Fire Hog members that attended the day’s event. Bob was all smiles because Jack Wise wasn’t there to mis-pronounce his name this time—you were still missed, Jack. The Fire Hogs presented the Relief Association with a Lotto winning sized check in the amount of $22,000 for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund. Bob acknowledged the generosity of the group noting their tireless effort to always help those in need. Sam Brown, owner of Sam Brown Shields, had his presence felt as cool customized leather helmets that he made were presented to the guests of honor.

Next, Bob introduced this year’s two honorees—Bruce Galien and Craig White. Known for establishing the Hook & Ladder Enduro, an annual motorcycle ride and fundraiser to benefit the WODFF, these two individuals exemplify the definition of volunteer by raising thousands of dollars each year for the charity and donating countless hours of their own time in the pursuit of helping others. Bob Steinbacher noted that according to records, the two men and their army of volunteers have raised more than $400,000 for the Relief Association.

The two men graciously accepted the honor bestowed upon them, thanking the Relief Association and their family and friends for their support. Bruce Galien went another step further by recognizing a number of volunteers, including John Nowell and his wife Karen for their help during the rides. He presented the couple with two very customized award pieces that went above and beyond description—at least what I can print here! To say the least, the presentation was one of the highlights of the event.

After the formalities were over, the celebration continued well into the afternoon. Though the event was scheduled from noon to 4 p.m., the party lasted long after. Our thanks go out once again to everyone involved in making this year’s open house another huge success. We can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association—Hope to see you next year!

By John Hicks

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