A Visit from the Hulk


It isn’t common that an actor who played a superhero actually is a superhero in real life, but then Lou Ferrigno is anything but common.

According to the Urban Dictionary, a superhero is described as “a being with extraordinary physical or mental powers, far beyond the range of normal human ability, who uses these powers to protect the innocent and for the general good.”

Ferrigno is a well-known actor who portrayed the Hulk from 1978 to 1982 in the television series, “The Incredible Hulk;” however, for the last eight years, he has been a reserve deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.

“I like being a role model,” Ferrigno said during a recent visit to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. He was suiting up to train with CV’s local superheroes, the Montrose Search and Rescue team.

“I will be here whenever Mike [Leum] asks me to be,” he said.

Ferrigno joined MSR members Leum, Tim Berry and Kevin Hughes for a training session in the Angeles National Forest on Sunday morning. Crescenta Valley High School students Garrett Leum and Boston Carvalho also rode along.

They went to an area called Motorcycle Corner on the Angeles Crest Highway at mile marker 56.5. It is called this because of the number of motorcycle accidents that occur at this patch in the road.

“We have been going to that same area for years,” Leum said of the training location. “The road cambers or tilts [a little] and if you are going too fast it will cause you to crash and go over the side.”

The high number of accidents was apparent because of all the articles that were found as the team rappelled over the side during their training.

“We found a box that a lot of motorcycles have on the back of their bikes,” Leum said. The plastic box was found in a tree.

The team also found other items like an emblem to a Ford Mustang, proving that not only motorcycles go over the side at this part of the road.

“We were called out to two motorcycle accidents but were canceled,” Leum said. However the team did stop to assist a U.S. Forest Service officer who had stopped 10 hunters. They were, of course, armed with firearms. At times, this type of situation can become tense.

“I think the officer was glad we were there,” Leum said. Especially when he realized one of the supporting officers was Ferrigno.

Ferrigno had to overcome physical challenges at a young age. When he was 3 years old, he suffered an ear infection that was not treated. He lost about 80% of his hearing, yet that did not deter him from his career. He won Mr. Universe twice – in 1972 and 1973. He supports several organizations including Muscular Dystrophy and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. As a reserve deputy, Ferrigno is a positive example for kids.

During one of his last visits to the CV Station, Ferrigno and MSR members responded to a motorcycle accident where a man had injured his leg. The man was in a lot of pain until he saw who was coming to his aid.

He asked, “Are you Lou Ferrigno? “

“Yeah, that happens,” Ferrigno said.

Getting ready for change in weather

Hikers and campers are reminded that winter is approaching and even though it may seem warm in the CV area, there is snow in the ANF.

“There is snow up there right now,” Leum said on Sunday. “That was from the storms we had a few weeks ago.”

Leum advises those thinking of hiking or camping in the ANF to be prepared.

“Don’t hike alone and think about what would be the minimum [amount] of stuff you would need to survive overnight,” he said even if hikers/campers are not preparing for an overnight trip.

Always check the weather conditions and fill out a LASD hiking plan. Visit http://file.lacounty.gov/lasd/cms1_163961.pdf for a copy.