3RD DISTRICT REPORT | JAIR JUAREZ
Monterey and Stockton Firefighters Raise Funds for Victims of the Camp Fire
The Camp Fire displaced thousands of people and the complete destruction of Paradise was unlike anything firefighters had ever seen. The sheer devastation of the fire inspired Monterey and Stockton Firefighters to help beyond the front lines.
Monterey Firefighters Association Local 3707 organized a donation and fundraising drive at local fire stations and schools to help victims of the fire. “Eight of us were in Paradise battling the fire and the team back home wanted to help any way they could,” said Neal Hurd, President of Monterey Firefighters Association Local 3707. “They organized the whole effort, placing donation bins around the community, raising nearly $60,000 in goods, gift cards and monetary contributions.”
Donations were given directly to victims, the CDF Firefighters Benevolent Foundation and the California Fire Foundation. Their efforts included giving a donated travel trailer to a retired firefighter who lost his home in the fire. “We were humbled to help, too many people lost everything, and this was the least that we could do,” explained Neal.
Stockton Firefighters Local 456 organized a fill-the-boot donation drive to help those affected by the Camp Fire. Firefighters were placed at high traffic intersections around Stockton and collected donations from community members across the city. The one-day fundraiser raised an astounding $27,000 in just four hours.
“A lot of our fire family have ties to the community of Paradise, so it was important for us to help victims of the fire,” explained Mario Gardea, President of Stockton Firefighters Local 456. “We held the fundraiser right before Christmas and 20 of our firefighters went out with boots to collect money. The outpouring of support from the community surprised us, we didn’t expect to raise that much money in such a short amount of time.”
Stockton firefighters are currently in the process of distributing the funds directly to victims of the fire via Target gift cards thanks to a 5% donation match from the retailer. “We are grateful to be able to help the community of Paradise any way we can.” explained Mario. “They have lost so much and if we can help, even in a small way, our efforts will be worth it.”
El Dorado Hills Firefighters Affiliates With CPF
El Dorado Hills Professional Firefighters, Local 3604 has joined the CPF family, with 53 members and more coming soon. The local represents firefighters who work for the El Dorado Hills Fire Department. The fire protection district serves the communities of El Dorado Hills and Latrobe. The department provides ambulance services as part of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) and all firefighter/paramedics are trained and able to administer Advanced Life Support (ALS).
The community is beginning to see an influx of residential care facilities and retirement communities throughout the area. The expansion is a significant change for a department that was established in 1963, when El Dorado Hills was much smaller. With an increasing population, El Dorado Hills firefighters are intent on keeping the same level of service for residents.
“As we grow and add more areas of service, it’s important to have discussions about how we successfully provide a high level of service to our community,” explained Mark Ali, President of El Dorado Hills Professional Firefighters, Local 3604. “It’s important for us to create and maintain relationships with our fire board to ensure that we’re moving in the same direction.”
As the community and the department grows, El Dorado Hills firefighters found it important to affiliate with CPF to achieve broader goals. “We wanted to be part of the bigger picture,” explained Mark. “The fire service is changing and legislation at the state level is very important to what we do as firefighters. Throughout the years we have benefitted from CPF’s legislative work on CalPERS and presumptive laws, so we wanted to show our support for that work and be part of the effort.”