Safety personnel and students recognized for their heroic work.
By Jason KUROSU
The Glendale Fire Dept. held its annual awards luncheon at the Glendale Hilton Hotel, honoring those working on the front lines fighting local fires, as well as those behind the scenes who keep the fire department running.
“This is your fire department and we do put our community first. We’re here to serve you. Being in service is what this profession’s all about and every member of this organization is proud to serve this community,” said Glendale Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.
The luncheon was attended by a number of city officials including the Glendale City Council, Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa, representatives from the offices of Assemblymember Mike Gatto and Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro and, of course, hundreds of firefighters and other members of the Glendale Fire Dept. Ellen Leyva, ABC 7 Eyewitness News co-anchor, performed as mistress of ceremonies at the luncheon.
A number of awards were handed out during the event by Chief Scoggins, including four distinguished service awards. Among the awardees were Captain Chris Jernegan, Fire Engineer Jonathan Payne, Second Generation Firefighter Michael Coley and Public Safety Business Specialist and La Crescenta resident Anita Shandi.
The lifeguards from the Pacific Community Pool were commended for their quick work to save a drowning 10-year old girl. The lifeguards assisted in CPR and quickly contacted the fire department. The girl was semi-conscious upon entering the hospital but was able to walk out two days later.
“If it were not for the immediate recognition, resuscitation and scene control efforts of the Pacific Pool lifeguards, the outcome would have been detrimental,” said Leyva.
The lifeguards received a fire chief’s commendation, unit citation and letters of appreciation.
A trio of Glendale sixth graders was commended for their work on essays written on fire safety. The junior fire essay winners had their work read aloud by Leyva and were given the titles of Fire Chief Rudy Ruiz, Assistant Fire Chief Grace Bennett and Deputy Chief Allen Tomrazian.
Scoggins also gave his support for a community automatic external defibrillator program, which would place defibrillators in public places and businesses in case of heart attack or other medical emergency. Scoggins illustrated the potential for such a service with the fire chief’s commendation for ambulance operator Chase Fletcher, who saved his father’s life while off-duty at the gym. When his father, retired firefighter Jim Fletcher, collapsed, Chase performed CPR and utilized the gym’s automatic external defibrillator.
“With access to these machines, you have the potential to save someone’s life,” said Scoggins. “If we had them in public places all over this community, we would be better prepared. This is a living testament to that.”
Other awards included Johnny Harrison, vice president & general manager of Lexus of Glendale, who won the Service of Self Award for his charity work and dedication to the community.
Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian praised the myriad services the fire department provides for a city that presents a wide range of needs
“No other area has the challenges we do, with brush fires, a high rise district with 22, 23 story buildings, highways crisscrossing the city, railroad tracks, a river running through, hazardous material issues, not to mention the health issues of our seniors who use your services and depend on you,” said Najarian. “I can brag about putting an extra bike lane in or balancing the budget, but who gives a hoot about that when someone can come to your house and take your father, who has just had a heart attack, get him to the hospital in a few minutes and save his life.”