March 2018

February 28, 2018

Dear Grapevine:

My name is Audrey Kay Rich. I am the widow of Albert W. Rich. You sent such a wonderful Yearbook. I was very pleased and proud to be a member of the LAFD family.

My husband Al was an Engineer, had been on the department for 30 years and was very proud to be a member of the LAFD. The yearbook is such a nice way of keeping up with the members of such a valuable and hard-working group of people. This really has been quite a year with all the wildfires, and now dealing with mudslides. Other departments and even other states coming together to help, makes it even a more loving and caring work place. Thank you again for such a nice, hardback treasure to me.

My Al would be very proud. He passed away from cancer after only living five years of retirement, and 2 1/2 years of that, he was ill. He never gave in to it, and was use to being a fighter being a fireman. Cancer has its own rules. We all want to find a cure, and one day will.

Thank you for all you do for members, and especially for all you have done for me over the years.

Forever thankful,
Audrey Kay Rich
Surviving Spouse



Thank you very much for the 2017 Yearbook. It is well done, cover to cover. Of course, everything you do is well done. Please accept the enclosed for the WODFF.

Bill and Berry Dahlquist



Please accept this donation in memory of Damon Bell. I was just off probation and assigned to FS 58 when I first met Damon. He was a seasoned Fireman/Adjutant, driving Battalion 18. His quiet and professional demeanor set him apart from the noisy bustle of a fire house full of young egos and energy. He was a good role model and a pleasure to work with. May he rest in peace.


Jim Stiglich
Van Nuys, CA



Please accept this check in honor of the birth of my great granddaughter, Harper Sambar, daughter of Jeffrey Sambar, Paramedic 102’s and Lindsey Sambar on 11/08/2017. Also, please accept this check in memory of Nina Clegg. A beautiful friend.


Phyllis Stapel


Dear Andy,

Please accept this donation for our friend, Richard Dickens. He lived a great life, always helping others. I first met Richard at old 17’s, in the late fifties. He was our Engineer on the truck. We kept in contact, and years later visited each other quite a bit. He’s in Indiana and we are in California. Richard was very engaged with the Amish people in his community. He and Martha traded favors with them. We were also welcomed into Amish homes because of them. It was quite an education for us.

God bless,

Harry and Doris Morck


Dear Firemen’s Relief Association,

With special thanks to all of you. To know you is to know people who are kind, considerate, and thoughtful. To know you is to be grateful for the special things you do. For everything you’ve done for being the special people that you are. Thank you so very much for the beautiful flowers and all your help.

Again, thank you

Anita Spearman



Enclosed is a check for the WODFF. My mom received so much from this organization in the 40 years before my dad retired. We are three generations of Los Angeles City Firefighters, and so grateful for the Relief Association.

The Evans Family


Dear Grapevine Editor:

I would just like to take a minute and drift from the norm of fun and games. I just learned that Retired Engineer Walt Somaduroff passed away this week. When we have someone pass away, we are always somber, sad, reflective . . . but in this case, Walt’s passing really made me stop and think. (Walt is second from right in this picture)

Walt was the engineer at my third house on probation, Engine 84. He was an old timer already in 1981, but he taught me a lot. He did teach me how to drive an old 1960 Crown (60088) and the old GMC Tank Wagon that were assigned there. While he may have been just a tad critical of my driving and pumping skills, with a laugh, smile and cigarette hanging from his mouth, he’d set me straight.

If you take a look at this photo, we are wearing our “standard” uniform of the day. Walt always told me, “Kid, when you wear this uniform, as long as you have four white buttons showing, you are ok, but when that 5th button shows, you better go on a diet.”

A couple years after I left 84’s, Walter became the president of the Relief Association, and later remained as a trustee. Walter talked me into becoming a trustee. I did, and I’ve been a trustee since 1992.

I lost touch with Walter for a while. Two years ago, I was working a SOD day in Battalion 17. While I was doing the rounds at 105’s, one of the captains there told me that at a retirement home up the street on Fallbrook, there is some old timer there that says he was a fireman. Through a short line of questioning, I figured out it was Walter. I went over there myself and sure enough, it was him.

Walt led a quiet life there, not even the staff that worked there realized that Walt was a retired fireman. He was so happy to have a visitor. He pretty much said that no one really visits him, except for his old friend, Mike Crandall. In his room, there were no pictures or anything of LAFD. So, I made a copy of the above picture, framed it, and brought him a couple t-shirts.

I know that current Relief President, Bob Steinbacher was unaware that Walt was so close and did stop in a visit him a few times after that, along with John Lee. I know that really cheered Walter up.

To my Firefighting Family: We do have retirees that are in homes, or living around on their own. Please take some time, visit, have them tell you stories of the old days. You can see it in their eyes and posture, for that moment they become that young fireman again. I understand there will be no funeral for Engineer Somaduroff. So, this is my short, but heart-filled farewell to Walt.

Thanks for everything. May you rest in peace.

Gene Bednarchik, Trustee

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