Great article on Pasos (Jess “Hall of Fame” Pasos – August 2018). Kudos to him for all of his accomplishes on and off the job. The last paragraph in the article stated that Pasos would join two other LAFD members in the So. Calif. Handball Hall of Fame. I believe that Vito Maggipinto should be added to that list as he was inducted in 1997. Maggi dominated LAFD handball during the 1950’s and 1960’s, winning sixteen “A” singles championships and nine “A” doubles championships.
Thanks for effort in managing a great magazine.
Santa Barbara, CA
Dear Firemen’s Relief Association,
Hi. My name is Coral Noonan. I am 9 years old. My dad is a Captain II for Fire Station 11. Last Christmas I got a carnival set. I decided to make a mini carnival and have it the day after Christmas. My two sisters came, my mom, my dad, both grandmas, and one of my grandpas. I had tickets, and they cost a dollar a game, per person. I had five games, and everyone did one round of each game. With my sister adding in a little bit more, I got 72 dollars. I decided to give all the money to you. The money can be used for whatever you need it to be used for. I want to help firefighters! I hope my money is useful and helps in some way!
Mel Leydecker came to 26’s as a new Captain II in 1973 or 74. His low-key leadership was a perfect fit for the crew we had at that time. We had many memorable incidents during the 70’s. As I remember 26’s was the second busiest truck in the city, behind old 22’s truck. Over the years Mel organized several family picnics and in the 80’s, after a lot of us had moved on, he organized 26’s reunions.
Mel made B/C in October 1980 when he talked me into reverting to Fireman and becoming his S/A. I made Captain in February 1981 and we parted ways. As a new Captain at 39’s, we went to a brush fire in Griffith Park and our boss was B/C Leydecker.
Over the years we became very close friends. I joined Mel with his old army buddy for probably 10 or more years on their annual hunting trip. After we retired, we kept in contact for our weekly golf outing with retired B/C Walt Wilmington and an occasional get together for lunch or dinner with Mel and his wonderful wife Dee (another one of my good buddies).
I’m sure your crew at 26’s all have good memories of our time together. Rest in peace old friend, we all miss you.
Bob and Sharon Degenfelder
Dear Bob and the LAFRA Board,
I apologize for not sending this to you months ago. I want to thank so very much, from the bottom of my heart, for the honorarium you gave me in November. I was glad to have shared the date with Billie Bringas, another huge contributor. My friends and family were aware of the work I’ve done for the Relief Association, but they never realized how appreciated it was, until that day. It also gave me the opportunity to thank my wife for her “lending” me to such a worthy cause. I never did any of my volunteering for accolades, and if I’d have known it would have taken 40 years to get such credit from you, I would have quit volunteering a year ago.
As you know, I got my start working with Lane. One day he asked if I could help him with a muster. I asked what we would be doing. He said that we would be officiating, and he convinced the Relief Association to let us drink all the beer we wanted, so I said count me in. The next year he asked if I could help with a picnic. I asked what would we be doing. He said we were in charge of trash pickup. I said that was a stupid job. He replied that he would get the explorers to pull the trash bags out of the cans, we would have a golf cart for us to use all day, and all the beer we could drink. So he convinced me to assist him. Another year he asked if I could aid in a golf tournament. Once again, I asked what our jobs would be. He said we that we would still get to drink all the beer we wanted, and we would get a golf cart because he made us the official transporters to take the Laker Girls off and on the course. That’s when I realized Lane wasn’t doing what he did to benefit the Association!
Thank you all again!
Please accept this donation to the WODFF in memory of Melvin L. Leydecker, and James J. O’Neil, who both passed away in July. I met both of these fine examples of the LAFD while in my first rookie assignment at FS 14.
Jim O’Neil was the senior firemen at 14-C, and had his hands full with two rookies, myself and Dennis Gelbman, who was from the class ahead of mine. Back then, we did almost no EMS calls, but I can remember “laying two lines” numerous times (we only had 2½ back then). The one fire that sticks in my mind was spotted by Bill Pierce, the wagon engineer, who, when returning to his bed after a late-night run, would always look out the nearby window to check for “loom-ups.” This time, he spotted one, and it was just a block or two down Central Ave. from 14’s. It turned out to be the Elks Club and a greater alarm fire, and I don’t think we returned to quarters until relief time.
Mel Leydecker was a captain at “Old 30’s” which was just up Central Ave. from 14’s. Mel was my first B/C after promoting to Captain I and being assigned to FS 56. I had been an A/O at “old 29’s” and we had been to many fires with TF 26 where Mel had been the Captain II on the “A” Platoon, so I felt very comfortable having Mel Leydecker as my B/C, as I had observed both his firefighting and leadership skills many times.
Richard Watters, LAFD Retired
Agoura Hills, CA
Dear Jim Dolan and the entire Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association,
Thank you for all your help and remembrance. Jim [Toon] is missed by his wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Please accept this check to go to the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund. Jim, thank you for being there for me. Your thoughtfulness and help are greatly appreciated.