Mission Viejo / Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge No. 2444 (“Elks Lodge”) hosted its South Orange County Law Enforcement and Firefighter Appreciation Awards Dinner (“Awards Dinner”) for over 150 firefighters, law enforcement personnel and family members of the personnel being recognized for their work over the past year. The event was funded by the Lodge’s charity bingo operation. Several city mayors were also in attendance at the event.
Honored guests included Orange County Sheriff Captain Bill Griffin; Highway Patrol Captain Amy Mangan; Orange County Fire Authority (“OCFA”) Chief Keith Richter, Division Chiefs Craig Kinoshita, Bryan Brice and Rick Robinson; Battalion 6 Chief Terry Scortt; Battalion 7 Chief Mike Fertig; Laguna Beach Fire Chief Jeff LaTendresse; Chief of Police Services for Aliso Viejo (Lt. Bob Osborne), Dana Point (Lt. Lynn Koehmstedt), Laguna Hills (Lt. Tom Behrens), Laguna Niguel (Lt. Andy Ferguson), Laguna Woods and Unincorporated South Orange County (Lt. Chris Wilson representing Lt. Jim Rudy), Lake Forest (Lt. Pat Higa), Mission Viejo (Lt. Chris Wilson), Rancho Santa Margarita (Sgt. Frank Nin), San Clemente (Lt. John Coppock) and San Juan Capistrano (Lt. John Meyer). Also in attendance were Aliso Viejo Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Cave and Phillip Tsunoda; Laguna Hills Mayor Barbara Kogerman and Mission Viejo Mayor Rhonda Reardon.
The honored guests were welcomed by Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler (“ER”) Harvey Boelts. Following the welcome, four members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard presented the colors and led the pledge of allegiance to the America Flag.
After the presentation of the colors, Past Exalted Ruler Dennis Keffer performed as Master of Ceremonies for the evening’s program. Elk member volunteers prepared the Awards Dinner which was served by members of Girl Scout Troop 261.
Awards were presented to the following fire fighters and law enforcement:
OCFA Battalion 4: Firefighter Chris Sotro (Not present, accepting Capt. Ron Roberts)
OCFA Battalion 6: Reserve Firefighter Frank Freer (Not present, accepting Capt. Terry Scortt); Captain Craig Covey
OCFA Battalion 7: Fire Apparatus Engineer David Hahn
Laguna Beach Fire Department: Reserve Firefighter Matt Rolfe; Engineer/Paramedic Adam Schulenburg
Note: OCFA Battalions 4, 6 and 7 protect unincorporated communities of Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Modjeska Canyon, Trabuco Canyon, and Talega; and incorporated communities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, shared automatic aid to Laguna Beach and a small portion of Irvine.
California Highway Patrol: Officer Steve Miles
South Orange County Police Services:
Aliso Viejo: Deputy Carlos Barceló
Dana Point: Deputy Mario Sadivar
Laguna Hills: Deputy Brian Gunsolley
Laguna Niguel: Deputy Michelle Rodriguez
Laguna Woods: Reserve Deputy Michael Friedland
Lake Forest: Deputy Mark Froome
Mission Viejo: Investigator James Vogel
Rancho Santa Margarita: Deputy Tim Africano (Not present, accepting Capt. Bill Griffin)
San Clemente: Deputy Dan Corwin
San Juan Capistrano: Investigator Edward Manhart
Unincorporated South Orange County: Deputy Rick Hassett
Elks Lodge ER Harvey Boelts said, “All of the law enforcement and firefighters given awards tonight would say that they were just doing their job. The rest of us know that putting your life on the line to serve and protect others is much more than just doing your job. On behalf of the nine hundred twenty three (923) members of this Elks Lodge, I say thank you”.
The Mission Viejo / Saddleback Elks Lodge No. 2444, celebrating forty-three (43) years of service to the Saddleback Valley communities, is one of ten lodges in the Orange Coast District of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) whose headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. The BPOE is a charitable organization with a 145 year history of giving, “Elks Care, Elks Share.”