Pechanga Reunion

June 30, 2018

On May 21, 2018, more than 100 LAFD active and retired members and their family attended the 6th Annual Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association Reunion held at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California. Each day was filled with family fun and different events for all. There was loads to do at the hotel and RV park, with tons of delicious food, evening camp fires, and lots of laughs and games.

After check-in on Monday, LAFRA hosted a reception at the RV clubhouse. Snacks and beverages, along with smiles and hugs were plentiful. The “Meet n’ Greet” provided a great first day to catch up with old friends and co-workers.

The following day, people gathered for the wine tour. Last year’s tour was a huge success, with two trollies being pressed into service to accommodate all participants–this year a third vehicle, a bus, was needed. Though the weather was a little cloudy, spirits were still high for the day of tasting wine, eating snacks and sandwiches, and even the sharing of battle stories from days past—fun was had by all. Wine tasting must make you hungry because when the group returned from the tour, pizza was ordered in quantities never seen in Pechanga history. That night the group slept well!

Of course, Pechanga wouldn’t be the same without what is quickly becoming a tradition at the event—the Maga’s Martini Contest. With a rainbow of different color drinks covering the tables and a banner proudly displaying the contest location’s in front of the rows of RV’s, the choices were many but the judging difficult. Cheri Turner took the top prize for her creation, however, I’m not sure there were any losers. Another beverage of choice for the time spent was the Bloody Mary, which was combined with a plethora of different foods, making for a responsible time. There were no trips, falls, or injuries of any kind. Plus, it was a drama-free week. All involved got along fabulously. They even celebrated a birthday. Diane Freeman, recently retired Captain Tim Freeman’s better half, turned 29—again! Happy Birthday, Diane.

A number of members were also able to get a few games of golf in, including Relief President Bob Steinbacher, who stated he had a off day on the greens but still had fun. Hopefully he and others did better playing the numerous games of cornhole which was set up in the RV park for all to enjoy. Not that you needed a RV to participate in the fun. Pechanga offered first class accommodations in the hotel for those who weren’t road warriors. And with the charming town of Temecula just a short drive a way, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Another positive of the reunion was the participation by a number of different professional organizations. Representatives from LAFRA, Pensions, Healthscope, Express scripts, L.A Retired Fire & Police Association, Historical Society, and even our long-time friend, Firefighters First Credit Union were there in force to answer any questions or concerns our active and retired members had. Special THANK YOU to the LAFRA organizers on hand that kept the event running smoothly: Steve Domanski, Doak Smith, Tim Larson, Rick Godinez, and other LAFRA Trustees as well.

Though this year was a great success, plans are already underway to make next year’s event even better—so mark your calendars and hope to see at the Pechanga Reunion 2019.

Story by Raul Miranda and John Hicks. Pictures by Terry Miranda

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