March 2019

February 28, 2019

Dear James Dolan,

Thank you and the Relief Association for the beautiful plant I received. I can’t say enough for all that you have done to help Bud and myself. I was blessed the day I met Bud. He asked me to marry him six months after we met. It was love at first sight. We married on 7/17/77. We couldn’t go wrong with those numbers! That was the day I became part of the family of LAFRA. What a blessing.


Marianne Lawson


In Memory of Coleman Lawson—Fireman

“Bud,” as he was well known, was another one of those great firemen with tons of experience, common sense, and good character. Around the station (70-A) or on the fireground, Bud set a fine example of hard work, integrity, and respect for young members to follow. He was a great mentor to the many rookies that came through.
Truly a pleasure to have worked with such a good fireman. Rest in Peace Bud.

Raul Miranda
Thousand Oaks, CA


In Memory of Daniel S. Barnes Jr.—Engineer

As a rookie, my first house was Station 51, at that time located in Hollywood. Dan was assigned there and he lived in Topanga Canyon which we all thought was WAY OUT in the Valley. We had a triple and a booster tank for apparatus and Dan liked to go “Lot Burning” on the booster tank with Public Works personnel. A new “story” would return each day about the adventures of burning with Public Works.

Dan was fun to work with and took time to work with the rookies on all three shifts. God speed my friend. May the Lord be with you.

Bob Mac Millan
Lake Havasu City, AZ


In Memory of Wilber A. Sweeters—Captain

According to the dates, Captain Sweeters was on pension for 58 years and 11 months! My Hero! He was appointed five years before I was born and retired seven years before I started the Drill Tower in 1968. Wilber, you set a record as far as I can determine! Last July 4th marked my 30th year retired. I would have to live to 100 to match you. I seriously think you are safe on that score!

Per the LA Times – Sometimes I wonder what is “The Rest of the Story?”

Wilber A. Sweeters: July 30, 1917 – December 30, 2018 Passed away at home surrounded by family. Born in Anaheim, and grew up on orange groves. Loyola High School’s first boarder and a track star, and a graduate of Loyola University in journalism and philosophy. As a WWII Coast Guard officer and navigator, hunted submarines in the North Atlantic. Married Helen Boyce (deceased) from NYC (1946). Moved into family home he built on Pacific Palisades bluffs (1950). Retired as LA City Fire Captain (1961) and as LA County Dep. Dist. Attorney (1982). Raised five children along the way, Hank (deceased), Steve, Jim, Julianne and Maryclaire, who will sorely miss his gentle and joyful presence.

James Kinninger
Wellington, NV


Thank you Dave & to the Grapevine for the great information on my upcoming retirement! I actually did contact the LAFPP DROP regarding my entrance date a few weeks back and just waiting for their call back. Seems they’re inundated with numerous members entering the DROP.

It’s really good to know the additional information in preparation for my retirement which can’t seem to get here fast enough. Unless I win the Lotto, I’ll only have five more years to go, woohoo!!


Rene Peralta, FS 97-B


Dear Editor:

I met Terry Trail in 1987 when I was just off probation as a firefighter at Fire Station 94. We both arrived at the assignment pretty much the same time. He was a new Captain II and I was starting my 1st year with that new red shield that read “LAFD FIREFIGHTER 94” on the front of my helmet. I was nervous but Terry called me into the front office for a sit-down chat. He said a lot that day and the things that I remember the most were quotes like “You will learn more about being a firefighter your first year off probation than most any other time!” And “You are only as good as the people you work with and work around.” Those quotes turned out to be very true as I believe Terry had related his own personal earlier experience on the job.

Terry had many other quotes that those who worked with him can remember – some were stop and think moments and some were stop and laugh moments.

Terry was perfectionist and a true leader of men and women. The shift stayed together for close to 12 years. We all became friends on and off duty. Not with just our platoon, but all three platoons.

Fire Station 94 during my time there had great officers. Names that we all can recognize: Trail, Graf, Brooks, McMaster, Benkovsky, Pasos, Terrazzas, Aburthnott, Hockenberry and many others. Many members eventually promoted to chief officers and one is currently the fire chief.

It’s an amazing life we all lead. “What do we want to be when we grow up?” we all ask. If we became firefighters, we likely answered that question. The best part is the friends and relationships we meet and develop along the way. Terry Trail was one of those special relationships.

Every member who has worked at Fire Station 94 during the tenure of a Trail, Brooks or Graf can always remember something they have learned, admired or experienced in their own way, and sure can relate to the phrase “the unexpected last man standing.”

Michael Gerken
Granada Hills, CA


In Memory of Terry G. Trail

I met Terry in the mid-70’s when I was assigned to FS 41 and he was promoted to engineer. Terry thought it would be a great probationary project for him to strip, polish, and label all the brass on the rig. He asked me if I had a problem with him taking on the project and I said no problem. He wasn’t aware that the C shift engineer, L.D. Fowler – also probationary – had just finished doing an amazing job painting all the brass on the rig as a probationary project to impress his Captain (and L.D. was on vacation at the time, so he couldn’t present his point of view on the subject) When L.D. returned from vacation, however, he had plenty to say about it. Terry realized he had been set up, and he and I had a great laugh about it. L.D. on the other hand never laughed about it and reminded us of what the prank had cost him in terms of time polishing brass whenever the C shift had to stand inspection. Terry, Rest in Peace my friend. You were a great relief and I don’t care what L.D. said about your idea to shine all the brass…

Mike Littleton
Thousand Oaks, CA


In Memory of Don E. Holloway—Inspector

Our infamous Uncle Don, aka “Doc Holloway” will be missed. RIP “Unkie.” For those of us growing up in the LA area in the 60’s, he was a movie star to us. He was a regular on the Hobo Kelly cartoon show and started the fire awareness and prevention portion for kids. I bet there are some of his caricature drawings still around LA. He was funny, bright, and always happy. Extremely talented in many genres, in retirement he was a DJ in Kona, Hawaii, played in local bands, and loved music. It’s a great loss to our families as he was the last Holloway child of Darious and Nola. God speed, Unkie, many loving arms to greet you in heaven. Hug my momma for me.


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