Community Support Backs-Up SFFD Pride Parade Contingent
|By Nicol P. Juratovac|
|In the finest traditions of the San Francisco Fire Department, members from The Citys community served as the ever-so-reliable back-up crew by showing their undying love and support for its Bravest during the 35th Anniversary of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade and Celebration.
The photos tell it all, reflecting the myriad of fine folks who helped the SFFD contingent represent itself as the class act that it is during the parade. Not only did members affiliated with the San Francisco Fire Credit Union (SFFCU) assist with polishing the apparatus just prior to parade kick-off time, but civilians ranging from students from City College of San Franciscos Fire Science Technology Program to stake holders of neighboring communities walked alongside the apparatus and uniformed members of The Citys Bravest to show their appreciation and pride.
Admittedly, even the shiny red fire engine that was part of the SFFD contingent was not able to generate as much fanfare as The Citys Mayor Gavin Newsom; but one must take into consideration that the Mayors support of gay marriages is an issue that has made him wildly popular in the LGBT community. His popularity is tough to compete with in San Francisco, even for the men and women who risk a lot to save a lot. Still, the crowd of close to one million cheered on the SFFD contingent and blew many many kisses to their beloved firefighters and paramedics.
Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White was an active participant, walking the entire parade route with her command staff of Deputy Chief of Operations Richard Kochevar, Deputy Chief of Administration Gary Massetani, Assistant Deputy Chief of the Division of Support Services Lorrie Kalos, and Assistant Deputy Chief of the Airport Division Patrick Casserly. RC Melany Brandon (EMS Training) was also there to represent The Citys Bravest.
Special thanks must be extended to Assistant Deputy Chief Glenn Ortiz-Schuldt of the EMS Division for his trouble-shooting some last-minute apparatus detail glitches. His efforts certainly did not go unappreciated that morning.
Indeed, many people were instrumental in ensuring that the fire department was well-represented in what is clearly the largest crowd-gathering parade in the City. Not only was Capt. James Lee, Division of Support Services, helpful in ensuring that a truck was secured for the parade, but FF Fred Reppun, Bureau of Equipment, was more than patient with the logistics of obtaining a relief truck quartered at Station 10, even at the last minute.
Keith Davies of SFFCU should also be acknowledged for his support of the fire department. Mr. Davies was a pleasant addition to the parade contingency, as were his many friends, who marched alongside the apparatus. In fact, he and his friends were so delighted to be a part of the fire department contingent that they even assisted with polishing the rigs prior to our start time. And if that were not enough, they served as wheel monitors when it was clear that there would be a shortage of fire department members to serve in that role. Doing so ensured that the SFFD contingent was safe and free of any potential hazards.
Additional thanks are in order to the crew of Station 38 (for assisting with the pick up and drop off of the relief truck due to last-minute logistical issues); the crew of Medic 15 (FF/PM Helen Horvath and FF/PM Nyki Divecchio) for serving as the on-duty fully-staffed EMS crew throughout the duration of the parade; FF Jen Mathews (E21) for driving the truck; FF CJ Jiang (E32) for acting as the tiller; FF/PM Peter Green (M15) for driving the engine; FF Keith Baraka (E6) for acting as the utility player; and Lt. Nicol Juratovac (E7) for serving as the fire department liaison.
To be sure, from the looks of hundreds of thousands of parade-goers, it is without question that the SFFD secured some future pro-fire department votes and support from the LGBT community and their friends and family. And in the midst of our current climate of budget cuts and brown outs, this is a good and necessary thing.
|Photo provided by Nicol P. Juratovac|