La Verne Firefighters Bring the Heat to a Good Cause

June 8, 2009
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marvin2Story by Marvin Weston

Early Monday evening (June 1), La Verne residents may have wondered if there was a disaster in town when a caravan of fire apparatus escorted by CHP units came into the downtown area with red lights and sirens. Nothing of the sort occurred. Instead, it was a traveling caravan of firefighters and volunteers visiting fire stations throughout the Inland Empire to collect proceeds they raised during the year for ‚ÄúFirefighters Qwest for Burn Survivors.‚ÄĚ La Verne Fire Station was the final stop for the day.


This was the beginning of FQFBS’s annual Qwest Rally and continued throughout the week to Orange County, San Gabriel Valley, Ventura/Santa Barbara Counties before ending in the San Fernando Valley last Friday. 


According to Tom Probst, Executive Director of FQFBS, the organization was founded in 1996 as a result of the Malibu fire where a number of firefighters were severely injured when overrun by the fire. Seeing their needs for a support network, he and a number of other firefighters formed the organization ( that has grown to serve anyone with financial hardships resulting from fire-related injuries.marvin1


Last year, with more than 100 fire stations participating, the organization raised $249,000.  This is in addition to many corporate sponsors and year round fund raising activities. Contributions are distributed to organizations and hospitals helping burn victims and their families cope with the financial consequences they face when hospitalized or disabled. Funds are often used to cover specialized garments, medications, therapy, counseling and even monthly bills resulting from a loss of earnings.


La Verne Firefighters hosted a BBQ dinner at the conclusion of Monday’s activities. Veteran LV Firefighter/Engineer, Dave Castanon, coordinated the department’s food preparation along with station personnel and explorers. Pete Jankowski, President of La Verne Firefighters Association, presented a check for $1,501 resulting from their activities that included a golf tournament at La Verne Country Club last October. Fire equipment and personnel from Rancho Cucamonga, March Air Force Base, Fairview Valley, Apple Valley, Valley Center, along with CHP, were among those in attendance.


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