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Firefighters hold fundraiser for families of fallen men

Golf tournament will benefit firemen lost in Station Fire two months ago

Posted: November 6, 2009 10:26 p.m.
Updated: November 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

From left to right, Station 107 Fire Captain Al Bustillos, Bradley Yocum, Brian Clayton, Tom Tobin and Chris Mangarin, along with other firefighters will hold a fundraiser for the families of Captain Tedmund Hall and Specialist Arnaldo Quinones, firefighters who died in the Station Fire.

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Memories of the two firefighters who died in the Station Fire two months ago are fresh at Fire Station 107 as the Canyon Country fire squad plans a golf tournament Monday to raise money for the families of the fallen men.

"We all grieve in different ways," firefighter-paramedic Richard O'Keefe said of the station's squad members, who knew the men who died in the line of duty. "Some of us are fairly quiet about it. Some of us pretty open in terms of where we wear our emotions on our sleeves."

O'Keefe remembers the day firefighters at the station heard the news that Captain Tedmund "Ted" Hall and firefighter specialist Arnaldo "Arnie" Quinones died.

The firefighters were in a truck that plunged off a mountain road near Mt. Gleason as they tried to evacuate inmate firefighters on Aug. 30.

"When it first came out on the news, there was silence," O'Keefe said. "There was a bunch of reflecting on (our) job, and our own families. ... Everybody puts themselves in harm's way from time to time."

Now the firefighters are moving forward and doing what they can to help the families of Hall and Quinones, who worked at inmate-crew Camp 16 in the Palmdale area.

O'Keefe and other firefighters are helping plan an all-day golf tournament Monday at Tournament Players Club, Valencia, where local firefighters and community members will golf on holes sponsored by local companies.

"The whole ideas is to honor our fallen brothers by taking care of their families as best we can," O'Keefe said.

The firefighters are no longer taking golf sign-ups because spaces are full. About 150 golfers will be attending, O'Keefe said.

However, companies and individuals can still sponsor holes and offer donations until the day of the event - and even afterward, he added.

Gold sponsorships cost $500 a hole; silver sponsorships are $250 a hole. Businesses and community members can also drop off private donations at the event or at the fire station. Golfers at the tournament can buy $10 raffle tickets for donated prizes.

Meanwhile, the firefighters at Station 107 are keeping memories of Hall and Quinones alive.

Firefighter-paramedic Luis Cervantes said he went through the Fire Academy with Quinones, who died before the fallen firefighter's wife gave birth to their first child.

"He had this smile," Cervantes said. "He was like the mayor of Palmdale. Everybody knew him and everybody loved him. He just had this charisma about him."

O'Keefe recalled Hall's strong leadership.

"If and when any of us became captain down the road, that's the kind of captain I would like to be," he said. "Solid in your job ... your ability to have good leadership skills and (to) take care of your guys."

Those wishing to make private donations can make checks payable to "Fire Station 107." Checks can be mailed to the station or dropped off at 18239 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country, 91351. For more information, call the station at (661) 252-2414.

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