November 2017

October 31, 2017

Dear Mayor Garcetti,

My wife and I were at the Route 91 concert last night in Las Vegas. You have a LAFD hero named Michael Mandahl who was at the event. We were hunkered down during the shooting. Michael dove under the bleachers with my wife and me with his girlfriend. He kept saying that he had to go help. He placed the care of his girlfriend with us and walked into the heat of battle. He left with nothing but blue jeans, boots and t-shirt to protect himself. While others were running away from the bullets hailing down on us all, Michael ran into the hailstorm to help others. We were lucky to be reunited with this amazing young man before the night was over. He no longer had his belt or his t-shirt . . . they were used to save people’s lives. Michael is an American hero who saved lives in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. Please honor this young man. The rest of the world demands it.

Love,

Scott Moreland
Carson City, NV

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Dear Grapevine Editor:

My wife received a text from my dad’s girlfriend that they were OK. Not knowing what she was talking about, we turned on the news and realized there was a mad man shooting at the Route 91 Fest.

We later found out that once the shooting ceased, they did something I didn’t want to believe, but expected, they stayed to help. In the moments after the shooting they stayed in the hot zone to treat over 30 victims. They pulled together whatever supplies they could find and made it work. The LVPD wouldn’t let the ambulances inside to transport because of the active shooter, yet these individuals came together as one to treat and rescue. They used whatever they could find to move people blocks away to staged ambulances. People drove up in pickups, SUV’s, Uber cars, luxury cars – ignoring the PD’s orders to stay out. Why? All to help save the lives of complete strangers.

Once we were all reunited, we could take a deep breath of relief again. After all the emotions had settled, I realized something that I’ve always known. My dad, my hero, put complete strangers before himself. But this is nothing new, as a veteran captain of the LAFD for over 30 years, he just snapped into action. I can only feel incredible pride for what they did in those moments. Instead of running from the danger, they stayed to help in an act of pure heroism.

Justin Kalnas
LACoFD, FS 26-C

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Dear Juliet:

The LAFD Invitational Golf Tournament was a lot of fun – and one of the best “run/managed” golf tournaments I’ve participated in. And that’s saying a lot since I’ve played in tournaments all over the country. Lastly – thanks for putting Gayle [Sonoda] in our group! Good person, fun to be with, and really good golfer.

Juliet – if I won the $2,500 dollars for the ball drop, I’m donating it to the cause!

Thanks again,

Rudy B. Medina
President, SoCal Market, US Bank

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LAFRA-

Dick [Gault] was a wonderful cook. I have pleasure of working with him at old Fire Station 3 under LAFD headquarters in the late 60’s. I remember one time he made this wonderful dessert in a giant pan for our crew of 24 men. Somebody cored the dessert and when Dick saw it, he immediately dumped all of it down the sink. I don’t remember anybody else ever messing with his cooking again.

He was also a great bricklayer on his days off and built a fireplace for me. It is sad to see him go because he was one of the good guys and everybody liked working with him.

Dal Howard

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LAFRA-

Richard Dickens and I were neighbors in Simi Valley. We shared a valued relationship, as I was on the LAPD. I immediately recognized him as being a true, seasoned firefighter. He had my utmost respect as a firefighter.

The passage of time and both of our relocations at retirement to out of state areas, separated our companionship. I have thought of him and his wife many times during our separation. The time has come to rest in peace.

Thank you for your public service and being a true friend.

Larry Lecuyer, LAPD (ret)

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LAFRA-

I am sorry to hear of the passing of Larry Thomas. He was a mentor to me in my early years with the LAFD. He was the backbone of Truck 98 for many years and I learned a lot from him.

I enjoyed his sense of humor and the many fishing trips we went on together. Our condolences to Caroline and the family.
Bruce and Debbie Galien

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LAFRA-

Jack [Gamrat] was my running mate for the past 40+ years and we were pretty much inseparable. We did it all: rafting, skiing, hunting, clamming, dirt bike riding, Harley riding, sailing, auto racing, boating, dune buggying, fishing and MANY other adventures.

I worked for and with Jack at many assignments. I will always remember the Drill Tower. He was a natural leader and a role model for many.

I would like to thank his son Mark and his wife Ione for taking an important roll in his later life. Jack was an older brother for me and will be missed very much.

R.I.P. Mi Amigo

Randy Laur

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Dear Relief Assn,

Richard “Dickie” Gilmore and I met in 1973 when I promoted to Auto Fireman at old 17’s on the C, aka “the Fun Shift.” Little did I realize what a cast of characters I would get to work with. Dickie was a big guy and strong as the proverbial ox, along with being a skilled truckman. His nickname was “Mongo” from the character in Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles.

While 17’s wasn’t that busy, when we got a fire it was a big one. The one that stands out is the Star Truck Warehouse that started with the detonation of unstable chemicals. The explosion was so large, 33’s responded on a still alarm. Dickie was talking with his wife on the Grapevine and just dropped the phone and got on the truck. What must have gone through his wife’s mind?

Rick Watters
Agoura Hills

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