REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS!
(Note: I recieved this wonderful tribute note this morning from Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who asked me to post it here on my Blog. Today is September 11th, Patriots Day here in America, and we honor those we lost in the attack on America from terrorists. We also pause today, and tomorrow to honor our Los Angeles County Fire Fighters Captain Ted Hall and Specialist Arnie Quinones who were killed fighting the wild fires here last week, Thanks, for the kind blog, Zev! Randy Economy).
On Saturday morning, I’ll be among the thousands of mourners who will quietly file into Dodger Stadium to honor the lives and courage of two Los Angeles County firefighters who perished in the Station Fire.
I’ll wish I wasn’t there.
Over the years, I’ve attended many memorials for fallen young cops and firefighters, immensely sad affairs full of rituals and tears. I know my presence—like that of other public officials—is important to send a message that such tragedies impact our civic community. But for me, no duty in my public life is more difficult or brushes more uncomfortably against my personal story.
At the age of 10, I lost my mother to cancer. Her death left a huge void in my life, one I couldn’t fully appreciate back then. Even today, I sometimes wonder how my adolescence might have been different had my mom been there to offer comfort and guidance as I grew older.
These thoughts and feelings are pushed to the surface whenever I attend funerals for police officers or firefighters. For invariably, sitting alongside the grieving widows, there are young children. I look at them, and I see me. How I wish I could turn back the clock and spare them the suffering they’ll face and the questions they’ll never be able to answer.
I know already that I’ll be wrestling with these emotions again on Saturday as we honor the firefighters who died when their truck plunged down a fiery canyon as they searched for an escape route for a crew consisting mainly of prison inmates.
Although Captain Ted Hall, 47, is survived by two grown sons, ages 21 and 20, such is not the case for firefighter Arnie Quinones, 35. Within days, his wife is due to give birth to their first child.
In any city or county, the death of first-responders in the line of duty is a community-wide tragedy. These brave men and women walk out their front door each day prepared to put their lives on the line for us. So this weekend, Los Angeles and the nation will embrace the Hall and Quinones families. We will tell them that their loss is our loss, too.
But in truth—and I know this from personal experience—their loss will last long after the mourners have left the stadium. May the Hall and Ouinones families take comfort in the knowledge that Ted and Arnie made a difference to our community.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Overturned truck of L.A. County firefighters Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones, who died trying to find an escape route for a fire crew.
Photo by Al Seib/L.A. Times
As Fire Season Approaches, Yaroslavsky Urges Resident to Review Insurance Coverage Limits
As Los Angeles County’s 2009 fire season approaches, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is urging County residents to review their existing residential insurance policies to make sure that provisions covering loss or damage to structures and contents are adequate to protect them financially.
Yaroslavsky, joined by members of the County Commission on Insurance, revisited the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar, site of the devastating damage during last fall’s Sayre wildfire that destroyed most of the more than 600 mobile home residences located there.
“Thanks to our outstanding firefighters, no lives were lost here,” Yaroslavsky said. “But as ground zero for these catastrophic property losses, Oakridge is a stark reminder and pointed lesson in the importance of keeping our residential insurance policy coverages adequate and up-to-date.” Yaroslavsky advised residents to utilize the County Insurance Commission’s Insurance Tip Sheet for help in making informed decision when protecting their assets. Interested residents can visit the Commission’s website at www.lacic.org for that information and much more.
Scott Svonkin, Chairman of the LACIC, concurred with Supervisor Yaroslavsky, urging residents to prepare for the next fire, flood or quake. “Please take the time to review our tips and review your insurance needs. Taking a few minutes today will give you piece of mind and help protect your property.”