Pacific Palisades Rotary President John Wilson wanted to honor our first responders at a February meeting. Starting in April, the Rotary will meet every Thursday for lunch rather than breakfast, and Wilson thought a February lunch meeting would be the perfect way to launch a new schedule while giving back to those who serve the community.
“I talked to Mercedes [Pellegrini—co-owner of Vittorios Ristorante and Pizzeria] and it all came together,” said Wilson, who was a Deputy L.A. City Attorney from 1971 through 1994. “We’re celebrating Station 69 today, but we’ll welcome Station 23 at a future luncheon.”
The Rotarians and firemen gathered at noon on February 6 at Vittorios on Marquez Avenue.
Wilson thanked the firefighters for always responding–rapidly–whenever residents or businesses call. On Wednesday this week, a woman fell at the YMCA around noon. Eyewitnesses called 911 and Station 69 was there within minutes.
“Thank you for supporting us,” Captain Bates told the Rotarians. “We traveled up north for the big brush fires, but not yet to Australia.”
Although half of the dining room was filled with Rotary and the 12 firefighters, other guests at the restaurant were thrilled and came up to ask firefighters questions and tell them stories of fires.
Circling the News asked the three firefighters at her table if this was common: that they are treated like celebrities wherever they go, and are asked questions about fires. They said it was, but that this area didn’t have a lot of house fires because “you guys take care of stuff–you do brush clearance and you have smoke detectors working.”
The firefighters do all of their own cooking and CTN picked up a tip for making better scampi. After letting the garlic heat in the oil until it pops, let it sit at room temperature with the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper for 20 minutes, before adding the shrimp.
Everyone was treated to salad, pizza, garlic rolls and lasagna.
Midway through the meal, the firefighters were called out for an emergency. Eventually they were all able to return, just in time for photos and dessert – a cake with a photo of a Station 69 fire engine on top.
Wilson, whose father was one of the founding members of the Palisades Rotary, has been active in the club for decades. As director of the Pacific Palisades Civil Defense team from 1959-1964, he urged Rotary members to get CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) certified so that they would be able to assist first responders in an emergency.
Having the LAFD app, this reporter knows that Stations 69 and 23 are constantly rescuing hikers from the trails in Temescal Canyon Gateway Park.
Captain Bates told CTN that hikers who are rescued are not charged for the rescue, unless they are transported to the hospital. “Some of the younger ones just get tired and call us to come and get them,” he said, noting they aren’t injured, “just tired.”
CTN also learned about the high number of elevator rescues that firefighters make in the 881 Alma Real building (next to the library). One woman was rescued on Christmas Day, and because the emergency number in the elevator was not working and her cell phone would not initially call out, she was trapped for hours.
One firefighter joked that if you plan to use this elevator, you might want to call someone and let them know that if they don’t hear back from you, call for help.
If you would like to learn more about Rotary and joining the club, contact president-elect Trish Bowe at her State Farm office on Via de la Paz: firstname.lastname@example.org.