Firefighters’ Salute: Some e-mail Comments

It is probably the understatement of the century: Firefighters and associated organizations have played a vital role in saving our communities … in the Darby Fire and, also in recent memory, the Creek Fire. Nationally, their incredible acts of heroism have been vividly revealed to all Americans in the wake of the tragedy at the World Trade Center & at the Pentagon. We’re soliciting suggestions & opinions on how we might salute these very special people. What can we do locally to salute those who, so unselfishly, risked life & limb to save our communities? Here is a compilation of suggestions / comments received to date:

I think it would be a grand idea to have a Firefighter’s Salute – I am not a business owner but could volunteer for whatever when the event is planned.

As for the salute. It would be nice to have such an event on a weekend. There are some of us who only spend weekends in Calaveras and would like the opportunity to thank all of those who keep our homes safe and our forest beautiful.

As a part time Forest Meadows resident with a town home on the ridge (Laurel Ridge Ct.) we would support a local celebration. Holding it at the end of the “fire season” would seem to be the best time as those involved could attend. It might be appropriate to make the celebration a multi-county event as these fires don’t follow county lines very well. We’ll be looking for more input on the planning and would be willing to help in some way consistant with our part-time status.

Our own salute would be wonderful. Why wait for a national event? It’s a wonderful idea. I have lived all over the country but I have never seen anything like the response and caring that has been shown by these men and women.

I don’t know what you have in mind, but whatever it is, I will support it, either in person, or via some other means. I have no way of expressing to you what their work has meant to me and my husband. Our home was only two weeks old when this happened, and we have saved our whole life for this mountain home upon retirement.

What about a Bar-B-Q sponsored or paid for by donations from the public and all firefighters, emergency workers and families get to go free? lst weekend in Nov would be a logical one to aim for. The only problem with this is that so many of the firefighters were from out of the area and there were other people who volunteered and would get no recognition.

What a wonderful idea. We do not live in the Arnold area yet, but will be purchasing land soon. We appreciate the efforts of all involved and of course without question the men in New York City and Washington DC. I am involved in my church in Pleasanton as co chairman to a men’s ministry group of 1500 and have been in upper level management positions for years. I would love to get involved in an annual benefit in the Arnold area.

The idea for an event is a great one. For people who do not live full time in the area it would be hard to attend or help with organization. The idea I have in addition to the celebration event is a fund raiser for organizations with wish lists. One approach is to post the donation request on your web site. The other approach is more complicated. The target donors would be the people who have primary residents outside of the area. Maybe they didn’t find your web site. The realtors have mailing lists. We bought our cabin a year ago and our realtor has never sent us postcards or newsletters but many other realtors send mail to the bay area. I personally would pay for the cost of printing a flyer and postage. I may pick an organization such as Calaveras Fire Dept. or Calaveras County Animal Control and send a donation if they will accept it.

My wife and I intend to move to Arnold full time within the next year and I hope we will be able to become involved in the events that you are talking about. The thanks without the fires, hopefully. I was on the county fire department in Santa Barbara during the mid 70’s and have the greatest respect and admiration for what firefighters do each day. They are generally under paid, over worked during the fires and many times under appreciated. If there is anything we could do from a distance please feel free to contact me at this email address.

I like the concept of the day or night of appreciation, but I’m not sure that is workable to the extent that I suspect you envision it. For example, as you know, some of the big units from around the state have been back home for nearly a week … Talk about over and above the call of “normal” duty. Anyway, I can’t imagine these young men coming back up from Contra Costa to attend our Appreciation event, and I don’t know how you have such an event and get the people there that you want to recognize.

As regards to suggestions for the honoring of the emergency personnel — Don’t forget the dispatchers. They take the safety of those they dispatch to emergencies, very personally. They have a job that is often quite boring and then in an instant, unbelievably stressful. They do a tremendously important job and are very seldom given any recognition for their efforts.

About the firefighter appreciation ideas you’ve raised, I think it’s a great idea in general (I have in the past thanked firemen as I ran across them, and was once totally shocked when a group who came to check our building’s fire-readiness was taken aback that someone was thanking them.) However, what you propose seems like a huge undertaking and therefore susceptible to collapse. So I wonder if perhaps we can all perhaps brainstorm other ideas … thank you cards signed by LOTS of locals sent to each firehouse that helped (which is alot of firehouses!!), or a local piece of art or photo (of beautiful country they help protect), framed, for each firehouse, or raise funds for things that firepeople perhaps don’t *need* but would make fire-fighting-away-from-home easier, or would make fire-fighting at their home locations easier (that is, a fund for things that aren’t usually provided by other funds…phone cards to call their families, replacing the padding on firetruck seats more often than “needed”, special pieces of equipment we don’t know about, etc, etc). These ideas would still take lots of work, but might be just as much appreciated. I have thought several times that I hope the firefighters “check out” the areas they fight fires at, and come back later for R&R, but perhaps that’s best left to personal taste??? I don’t know. Like I said, your idea is great but seems somewhat overwhelming to execute, and I’m not sure that, if I were a firefighter, I’d *want* to do anything but stay at home at the end of the fire season!!

Yes, I think it is an excellent idea to have a special day every year to salute FirEfighters, Law Enforcement and other Special agencies. Count me in on the ground floor…I’ll do what I can to help!

The events of this past week on top of the stress level of the local fire made it almost too much to bear for many people. Yet the firefighters here and in New York had a job to do and could not rest. I share your gratitude for their unselfish dedication and strongly support your idea of an annual appreciation event. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a group of the firefighters who worked so hard in such a potentially catastrophic atmosphere, come back and see what our beautiful area is like to enjoy in peace?

The only recognition I can think of is a sizable donation to the Fallen Firefighters fund (I think that’s what it is called) in the name of all the firefighters that were here. In that way, we can honor our firefighters and contribute to ease the senseless loss that occurred in NY.

I am an eighth grade teacher and am having my students write thank you letters to the fire departments who have been instrumental in saving our communities.

The idea of a big celebration honoring those who saved our homes is admirable…But as a couple of the emails pointed out, it may be unworkable for the men and women from other areas. The idea that we donate as a community to the fund is much better. We could also do a tribute to local firefighters, sheriff, all who helped, etc. They protect us 24 hours a day. I would certainly bake dozens of cookies for such an event!


Consider an already established function to celebrate the heroic job done by all the emergency service personnel who served our counties this year, in Calaveras County the Frog Jump and County Fair could be dedicated in a salute to them. Free admission to any of the fire service personnel and their families as well some sort of events involving their skills, similar to the fire muster in Columbia. Let’s give them spectators hill and put on a parade for them in salute. The logo competition could be held to represent the thanks of our counties to their effort. And last but not least the fireworks display could be broadened by community donations to be the biggest blowout the Mother Lode has seen in a long time ( as long as we don’t set off any further brush fires in the process.) The one sticking point for some of the residents would be inviting the prison crews, but I think they more than most deserve a salute considering what they have given. If they are excluded we might consider some sort of thank you gift (special dedication T-shirt, gift package and or thank-you cards/letters from the community).

Feel we should do something for these very special fire fighter and everyone that helps. Count me in.

A great idea to salute those firefighters who worked so hard to save our homes and lives, risking theirs at the same time. How about a special day at the jumping frog celebration dedicated to the emergency personnel, including firefighters, dispatchers, police/sheriff, and any others who worked so hard for us. These people and their families could have a free day of events sponsored by residents and businesses from Angels Camp to Big Trees. Further, how about a fundraiser for our own fire districts and local CDF’s to buy equipment and training materials to make their budgets go farther.

You are correct, we need to do something for our HEROES. Perhaps we should ask them what they want, need or would accept. What about a “formal dinner/dance” a winter ball that would be free of charge to our heroes and they would be guests of honor and at the same time charge the “general public” as a fund raiser perhaps for new equipment for the different departments.

Yes, I am very interested in being involved in the organization of a special event to honor the firefighters and other special organizations. Please contact me via email or phone.

(The following e-mail is from the captain of a large Bay Area fire department who participated in 2 local fires in the past month: the Creek Fire in the Groveland area &, most recently, the Darby Fire)

During our “visits”, we experienced a very appreciative public. We met some truly wonderful people. The comments I have read on this site regarding a “firefighter” salute are truly humbling. Yet another reflection of the quality of the citizens of the area. I can tell you that a spoken or written “Thank You’ is more than enough. I applaud your efforts to organize an event however.

Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider:

1. Support your local fire agencies in the name of all the firefighters who responded to the call. Your local firefighters will benefit, which in turn will better equip them to serve the community all days of the year. You want your responding firefighters to have the best equipment and training. Everybody wins.

2. Remember the efforts of firefighters when they enlist your support in the political arena.

3. I think most firefighters would feel “funny” about travelling to the area to hear how great they are. How about establishing scholarships for local firefighter’s children to attend college. These scholarships could be administered to deserving kids who may not have the chance to attend college. Who knows, they may opt to study Fire Science!

These are just a few ideas……..I think it is important for people to have the opportunity to offer thanks and appreciation. I also feel it is important at the same time to support and recognize your local agencies so they can better serve the citizens.

At Hazel Fischer School we will be putting on a special Thank-You ceremony for our state workers who have helped us out so much. Many of our children have a need to give back to our community and we will present each organization with a book of cards for each group to take back and share amongst one another. I love the idea of honoring all these people and in light of the national tragedy, it seems very appropriate. Let me know how we can help.

A celebration would be more satisfying to us, the residents, but only fairly local fighters could attend. On a practical level, perhaps a local photographer could donate images, local photo shops (or drugstores) donate reproduction, and so on. I would be glad to help with mailing lists and labels, I used to do this sort of thing for a large software company. A check for “needful things” could accompany the artwork and card to each fire agency.

I’m a local volunteer firefighter and we benefit from all the cakes and cookies residents bring by during and after a big fire. However we are only a small part of the overall effort. The fact is as you can see from your list the majority of the firefighters came from far and wide and short of sending thank you notes a local event would miss most of them. The majority of local CDF firefighters are seasonal, so after the first good rain they will be gone too. I would suggest continuing to support your local firefighters’ fund raisers. And, next time there is a major fire locally be ready to come to the fairgrounds and thank the firefighters then. Many firefighters can’t get into town during a fire and could use errand runners for necessities they forgot. While the food is plentiful at the camp, homemade stuff would be much appreciated. As someone suggested, that is the place to hold a barbecue and you could might be able to thank the prison work crews then too, although they have to be segregated from the firefighters by Department of Corrections rules. I don’t know if Corrections would let you do anything for them. Someone mentioned T shirts. At every major fire T shirts are produced and sold to the firefighters. Maybe local residents could buy some and give them to firefighters. During the boring day off at the fairgrounds between assignments any creative gestures of appreciation would be great. The signs along the road during the fire are very appreciated.

There were three big fires this year in our area. Hopefully that won’t happen again. Some local fire departments have auxiliaries. Joining them would be a way to get involved in coordinating a thank you program quickly when a big fire comes.

That’s it: Firefighters’ Salute feedback received so far. How about your opinion? Would you be in a position to help? We would also like to hear from firefighters … what would be an appropriate method of appreciation?

Please e-mail any suggestions or offers of support: [email protected]

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