The 21st Annual Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride

July 31, 2019

Under the shadow of new construction rising across from Fire Station 27, the motto of the LAFD Fire Hogs M/C, “Ride to Live and Live to Give,” continues to reign true. Founded in 1991, the Fire Hogs’ goal has always been to promote a brotherhood amongst their fellow firefighters. One way they do this is obvious—they ride! Not only do they ride, but they keep true to their beliefs by riding for causes such as the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund. The 21st Annual Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride was one such ride and so much more.

Registration for the event started early. Thank God for The Hermosa Coffee Company and the ICAN workers for providing coffee and refreshments to nourish the riders for the long day ahead. As the nearly 200 bikes and 350 riders rolled in, t-shirts and other merchandise moved out thanks to the hard work of people like Armando and Chris Diaz. As the Ceremony began, it was led by the LAFD Honor Guard and the Gold Coast Pipes and Drums who brought in the colors, followed by the flag salute and the national anthem by John Lee. A moment of silence was observed for all those lost from the military, fire, police, and other first responders followed by the invocation from Chaplin Rick Godinez. LAFD did their part as Fire Hog El He’fe, Ralph Terrazas, made an appearance and spoke on important matters such as mental health care for our members and new equipment hitting the field, compliments of the LAFD Fire Foundation.

“The motto of the LAFD Fire Hogs M/C, ‘Ride to Live and Live to Give’ continues to reign true”

Dignitaries speaking included Grand Marshall, Actor Vincent Vargas (son of our own Carlos “The Cutman” Vargas), LAFRA Relief President Robert Steinbacher, retired Councilmember Dennis Zine, UFLAC Second VP Adam VanGerpen, Chapter Presidents Al Bustillios, and Ron Pelham. Next was the introduction of the LAFD Chapter’s Board and the recognition of the survivors that were present at the event. A brief explanation to the crowd of the meaning of the sounding of the bells in a firefighter’s life was followed by the honor guard escorting Suzanne Farrell to ring the ten bells in honor of her longtime partner and Fallen Fire Hog, Pete Goff. John Keyes provided the ghost solo of Amazing Grace with the Gold Coast Pipes and Drums filling in at the end.

Special thanks to Chief Carlos Calvillo and his crew for suppling the PA system and for reaching out to the media, Chief Tim Kelly and Captain Getchius with their crew at Fire Station 27, and Jim Finn with his volunteers at the Fire Museum for sharing their property and hosting the event. I couldn’t think of a better place to start such an important ride.

What a sight it was being a part of the 200 bikes that were escorted down Sunset Boulevard towards Gladstone Restaurant. As we traveled down Sunset, each station along the route was out at attention saluting as the procession passed. Captain Russell and the Crew from 37’s presented arms as we passed the overpass and Captain Kitahata and his crew at 69’s displayed the colors as we passed underneath their aerial and Old Glory. Well done, Captains for showing great leadership!!! Coordinating the ride was Fire Hog member Raul Miranda. Not an easy task, but I have a feeling his wife Terry, did double duty as she also documented the event with her photographing skills—fantastic team work! UFLAC’s Adam Van Gerpen also helped out taking some great shots of his own—Thank you.

To keep this a family event, Raul’s cousins Monica and George Hernandez, Monica’s sister Dee and Steve Ybarra donated three expensive baskets. Part of the LAFD family, retired member Scott Gill arranged the hotel and coordinated the station’s displays as the riders made their way along the course. Another important job went to Craig Yamashiro who kept track of the finances and helped out with registration. Taylor and Debbie Gaskins coordinated the survivors and their gifts and was also one of the many mules running around doing needed tasks. Thank God for Rudy Santiago, Angel Meza, and Robert Reyes. They assured that the parking lot’s traffic flowed smoothly and even cleaned up after the riders left.

Jay and Cheryl Freeman coordinated the raffle, along with Kurt and Craig Williamson who also worked on the sponsor plaques. Once again, Jim Vels came through big time, donating several works of art in the form of a hand-painted fire helmet, Maltese cross, and bowling pin that raised a lot of money for the cause—stunningly beautiful! Another highlight of the day was the auctioning of a motorcycle owned by LAFD Captain and Fire Hog original Pete Goff Jr., who passed away in August of 2018. John and Michele O’Connor coordinated the auction of the priceless gift that was donated by Pete’s son and daughter. Steve and Brenda Resnick were all over the place, helping out anywhere they could, while Val Lawrence, Sandra Marquez, and Diane Vigil collected donations and assisted in the registration process.

Congratulations to the big prize winners: LACOFD Fire Hog Crazy Lou and his wife who took home Pete Goff’s bike, Mark Morman who took home Jim Vels’ custom painted helmet and Maltese cross. Jim Vels’ friend won the bid on Jim’s custom painted bowling pin and then donated it back to the auction. Retired LAFD member and Fire Hog member Scott Gill eventually won the bowling pin. Actor Vincent Vargas reached out to the cast of his TV series and within a short time most of the cast of the Myans were at the Sagebrush taking pictures with all and helping us raffle off prizes. A few of them even won some prizes! With over 100 prizes, I don’t think many left without something, including a good time!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the LA County Fire Hogs and San Gabriel Valley Fire Hogs. Both chapters assisted tremendously to the success of this event by giving support, reaching out to riders by social media, soliciting sponsors, and lastly by putting out $$ in winning prizes.

I want to recognize the following clubs in attendance: Iron Spartans, Top Rocker Hog Chapter, Old FUX M/C, US Veterans, and the Glendale HOG Chapter. My thanks to each and every one of you that supported this event by attending it, donating to it, or purchasing tickets even though you couldn’t attend. Also, a shout out to Jim Parks and Bob Clarke for making it to the event. How about LACOFD Fire Hog Chapter President, Big Al, for coming all the way from Prague, Czech Republic, so he wouldn’t miss the event…AWESOME BROTHER.

I want to especially thank the following major sponsors for their tremendous support of our event: Al Hewitt Financial, Tom Lindstrom RV, Red Helmet Training, UFLAC, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Straussner & Sherman IOD Attorneys, Firefighters First Credit Union, The Law Firm of Lewis, Marenstein, Wicke, Sherwin, & Lee, Lupitas Bakery, Sagebrush Cantina, Anza Hotel, Pelican Products, Tuzz, as well as numerous other sponsors, my wife for doing so much and supporting me always, and the countless members, friends, and family members who stepped up and helped out the day of the event. With your help, we have already made 2019 a year to remember.

Members wishing more information on becoming a Fire Hog and information on upcoming events go to our website at www.Firehogs.org. Join us on Facebook @ Fire Hogs M/C LAFD. Follow us on Twitter Fire Hogs M/C.

by Jack Wise, President
Photos by Terry Miranda

Please go to theses websites to view other pictures from the event.
https://terrymiranda.smugmug.com/View-your-photos/Solvang-2013/Memorial-Ride-2019/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/48795888@N08/albums/72157709026578077

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