I would like to thank you, the LAFRA Board, for placing your confidence and trust in me to serve as the new president of LAFRA for the calendar year 2023. I will continue to work hard to not only maintain our excellent benefits and level of service but to find new ways to deliver additional benefits to our members. I would also like to thank Jim Duffy for accepting the nomination for vice president. Jim, congrats on your new position. I know your knowledge and experience as a LAFRA trustee, along with your educational background, will be a great asset to myself and the Board of Trustees.
If we have not had the opportunity to meet or spend some time together in the past, I would like to formally introduce myself. I am a second generation LAFD Firefighter. My father, James Stine, retired 10 years ago as a Super Mate on Boat 5. I have been married to my beautiful wife, Lauren, for the past 15 years. Lauren is a Senior Broker with a global financial services company. We have two daughters together: Caitlyn who is 12, and Christa who is eight. Both girls are competitive swimmers and are in the water four to five days a week and compete regularly. I currently have 22 years on the LAFD. I spent seven years as a Firefighter in Battalion 1 and 13, nine years as an Engineer at Fire Stations 10 and 57, then moved to Fire Stations 13 and 1 as a Captain I. The last 12 months I have been assigned to Fire Station 75 as a Captain II. Although 75s was short-lived it was an excellent assignment with some of our finest Firefighters. Thank you to all the members at 75s for their positive attitude and hard work. I will miss platoon duty but looking forward to serving this great organization in a new capacity.
I would like to thank our outgoing president, Jeff Cawdrey, for his tireless work and extreme dedication to the membership. Serving as your vice president the past three years has been an incredible experience. Jeff was faced with many challenges and unprecedented times the past three years. Jeff led the LAFRA staff and the Board of Trustees through a worldwide pandemic that presented some obstacles for the organization. Your strong leadership and ability to pivot the organization to a position to be successful was appreciated and valued tremendously. Jeff has been instrumental in the successful partnership with UFLAC, LAPRA, and LAFPP, which continues to bring our active and retired members robust medical benefits. Jeff recently was able to help start negotiations with UFLAC and LAPRA for a new five-year contract with LAFPP. Jeff, your commitment and dedication to being available for our membership 24/7 is what our members expect and you delivered, brother. Thank you for a great ride the last three years and enjoy your much-deserved retirement.
On November 5, 2022, LAFRA celebrated our very own Valerie Lawrence at our annual open house. Valerie, the widow of the late John Lawrence, Captain II LAFD, last assigned to Fire Station 75, was voted this year’s honoree. The event was well-attended by family, friends and colleagues of Valerie. Of course, the theme was Dodger blue since Valerie is a lifelong Dodgers fan. Many of you have experienced the great work that Valerie has done for LAFRA firsthand. Valerie along with Diane Vigil and our LAFD Chaplains manage The Family Support Group. The LAFRA Family Support Group was created to assist those who have lost a loved one, either active or retired, helping them through the difficult transition from spouse to widow or widower. Of course, Open House would not be Open House without the Fire Hogs in attendance. The Fire Hogs presented a check totaling $35,000 to support the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighters Fund. Thank you, Fire Hogs for your continued support. Lastly, on the subject, the event would have not been possible without the dedication and hard work of event coordinator Juliet Brandolino and our volunteers.
I would like to thank the membership for your participation in the LAFRA 2022 Trustee elections and congratulate our returning trustees Craig White, Danny Wu and Steve Tufts. I would like to welcome our new trustees Paul Duke, Cesar S. Garcia, Milton Quintana, Steve Jones, and Leon Dunn to the Board. We will miss our outgoing trustees who are stepping down from their duties as a LAFRA trustees. Joe Vigil, Chris Bustamante, Gayle Sonoda and Rick Godinez will be leaving the LAFRA Board of Trustees after many years of service and commitment to the membership. You four held vital positions to the organization and contributed many hours. Rick was the chairperson for our Marketing and Development Committee and Joe was the chairperson for the Elections Committee and Gayle worked with the Grapevine. Thank you all for your leadership and contribution to LAFRA.
Please save the dates:
• Buzzard Bait- Jan 13-16
• Hook and Ladder Enduro- March 17-19