In July of 1976, as I sat in the classroom of Drill Tower 89, I realized that I was undertaking a very difficult challenge. I knew it would take a new mindset and one of our drill tower instructors, Captain Ron McIntyre – who also retired out of FS 92-C, helped to start us all off in the right direction. I remember that he suggested that we look to our left, and then to our right. He then told us that one day we might have to save the life of the person sitting next to us, or attend their funeral. At the age of 21 I couldn’t imagine that one day I would give the eulogy of my friend, Engineer Stu “Dick” Premmer.
For 30 years plus Stu and I worked together, lived together, and fought fire together. He was soft spoken, with a smile that left you with the impression that he was thinking of something that only God would know. Dick was the epitome of what anyone who represented the Los Angeles City Fire Department should be. His abilities to adjust to any and all situations on the fire scene and within the station were huge. His professionalism and leadership were unparalleled because Stu let his actions speak for themselves. I will never forget the number of times, as I was on E-258 or E-292, and looked up the supply line and saw Dick working his magic to perfection.
So, as all of us move on and slowly forget about Stu Premmer, maybe, just maybe we will remember one thing about Stu that made him so special . . . I have many!
“Engine 58 from 258 . . . great job!!”
Dear Art Sorrentino,
Congratulations on an outstanding finish at this year’s Fireman’s Olympics (Sept issue, Trap & Skeet, page 37).
I was pressured to send this by the so called few that didn’t want me to name their names (standard firemen stirring the pot) but wanted to set the record straight. I was very fortunate in my early years on the department to also shoot for the LA City Shooting Team with some outstanding shooters: The Bickley brothers, John Miller, Jay Turner, Ron Christie, Larry Miller, Al Gore and others as well. In ’95 I was able to win gold in individual skeet singles and silver in doubles skeet, gold in overall shooter, silver in trap singles, and bronze in trap handy cap.
The reason for this email is that Larry Miller past away a few years back. He was Ron Christie’s engineer at FS 86 for many years. Ron and Larry were the best of friends off the job, as well as shooting partners. I know his wife, Donna Miller, and Ron still gets the Grapevine and this will bring back many memories of great times we all had while traveling and shooting together.
You see, Larry Miller was my father-in-law. Larry saw me shooting at Oak Tree one night 25 years ago and I was tied for first place. I had to have a shoot off for the win. Larry came and asked if I needed more ammo. After I won, he asked where I worked (I had a LAFD shirt on) and if I was dating anyone? I gave him a crazy look and said no. He gave me his daughter’s number and told me to call her . . . long story short, I married her two years later (he probably never saw that coming). Larry was not only my father-in-law but my teammate on the shooting team – and also one of the nicest men you would ever meet, period! Larry’s greatest one liner to me was “you are not that good kid, so don’t quit your day job!”
Your story struck a cord because after the ‘95 Olympics Larry just kept shaking his head saying, “Five freaking medals, really? You are just one lucky kid! Don’t get a big head or anything.” And when we got home the excuses started to fly. “I would have beat him but it was too windy, sun was in my eyes, bad re-loads and there was no bacon left for my bacon cheese burger when I ordered my lunch!”
Larry had a heart of gold and he left us way before his time. Sometimes the untold stories of people are the true winners. The five medals in ‘95 are more Larry’s than mine. They remind me to be a better person – as Larry was.
Firefighter, FS 99
To the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association:
Please accept this donation to the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund in memory of O. Dean Mendenhall.
I want to thank you for the American flag presented to our family at his service. Dean treasured our flag and flew it daily on his 16-foot flagpole. Thank you also to the FS 37 firefighters who assembled in front of the truck by the chapel at the Conejo Mountain Memorial Park in Camarillo. Dean would have appreciated this beyond words.
After appointment to engineer, Dean had reached his dream. As he would say, “I dig driving the rig.” He spent 32 years of service with honor and felt fortunate to be a part of a great group of friends on the LAFD.
Dean met many of his hunting and fishing buddies in the department. He had wonderful memories of hunting trips to different states. Camping out was his favorite thing, living in the rough, enjoying nature. It was said he was a man’s man.
Dean was a U.S. Marine for four years and was in combat in Korea aboard the USS Macon. He was dedicated to the Marine Corps until his last days. We always celebrated the Corps birthday on November 10th at Crash Corrigan’s Steakhouse in Thousand Oaks. The restaurant was packed full of Marines and the birthday cake was cut with a saber while we all sang the Marine hymn.
Please give my special thanks to all who knew Dean and cared for him. He felt proud and honored to be part of the LAFD family.
Newbury Park, CA
Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund
Please accept this donation in memory of Donald R. Beaver. Donald devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy towards working for firefighter’s benefits both on the LAFD and throughout the state. He was a tireless worker devoting his knowledge and talents to the Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union, the Los Angeles Firefighter’s Association and the California State Firemen’s Association. He was recognized for his outstanding devotion to the fire service when he was elected LAFD’s Fireman of the Year in 1977. We have been dear friends with Donald and his wife Chris for over 45 years and we miss him tremendously.
Phil and Marcia McKay
Las Vegas, NV
Daniel J. McMahon, my husband of 55 years, was hired on to the LAFD in 1961. He worked on the “A” platoon, Engine and Truck No. 17 as his first house. As he put it, “I was wet for six months – I HAD A GREAT TIME!” We had three children who were happy growing up as part of this firemen’s family.
Unfortunately Dan passed on in July, 2014. He always told me, if anything ever happened to him, to call the LAFRA for help. He was so right. My family and I appreciate the help and support given the day of the funeral – a beautiful bouquet of flowers was sent to the church, an encase flag with the inscription on red metal, and John played the bagpipes before and after the celebration mass – this was such an honor to Dan. Andy Kuljis, who arranged all the above, also contacted the appropriate people of the Department to send forms to me so that all I had to do was fill them in and mail them back. I would have never known where to start.
Dan was a strong man who suffered with throat cancer and its affects for 24 years. He had a positive attitude, wonderful smile, great sense of humor and strong faith in God through it all. He was loved so much by all our family and friends and missed beyond words.
Please accept this donation to the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund in memory of Daniel J. McMahon.
We love the LAFRA,
Margaret McMahon and family
To: Firemen’s Relief Association
We are mailing the enclosed donation in memory of Robert Patterson who died last week at his home near Sheridan, Oregon. He worked as a fireman in Los Angeles for twenty years and held fond memories of his years there. His family told us that he would prefer a donation to your organization rather than flowers at his funeral.
Vernon and Joan Wheeler