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Secretary honored by county’s Fire Department

Co-workers, officials celebrate Doreen Shick’s 33 years of service

Posted: July 26, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 25, 2012 7:26 p.m.

Doreen Shick, left, smiles with her husband Ed Shick as she is recognized for her service to the L.A. County Fire Department during a party at Fire Station 126 in Valencia on Wednesday.

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Doreen Shick has seen her fair share of assistant fire chiefs in the Santa Clarita Valley during her 33 years working as a secretary for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The Newhall resident has lived in the SCV since 1975 and worked with 19 assistant fire chiefs over the years — many of whom turned up Wednesday for a celebration of her time at the department.

A quote-bubble stuck on a photo of Shick at Wednesday’s ceremony asks, “How many of you guys am I going to have to train?” — jokingly referring to the number of assistant fire chiefs she’s shown the ropes around the office.

Shick will be retiring officially from the department within the next two years, but she is no longer able to work and will be out on injury until her retirement because of illness, said spokeswoman Stephanie English.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990, Shick has been having problems walking recently, said Ed Shick, Doreen’s husband.

While people in the office used to help her walk around, that’s no longer possible due to the progression of Shick’s illness.

Steve Martin, chief of air operations, who formerly worked as an acting assistant chief, said Shick never met a stranger.

“There is not a person who has ever walked through the door of L.A. County Fire who doesn’t know who you are,” Martin said of Shick.

Before several former assistant fire chiefs took the podium to praise Shick on Wednesday, a Sikorsky Firehawk helicopter flew overhead in her honor.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this in all the years I’ve been here,” Doreen Shick said after the ceremony was over.

Multiple sclerosis causes nerve damage and can lead to problems walking, vision loss, dizziness and balance problems, and speech problems, among many other symptoms. There is no known cure and the disease often worsens over time.

More than 100 co-workers attended Wednesday’s celebration.

Ed Shick read a statement on behalf of his wife Wednesday, saying that he didn’t know how his wife was able to put her time at the department into words.

“There’s no other job I would rather have,” Ed Shick read on his wife’s behalf.

Ed Shick added the fire department was Doreen Shick’s family, in addition to her two sons and 10 grandchildren.

“She feels like it’s her family,” Ed Shick said.

For Doreen Shick, one of the best memories she has from the department is when she was on call with a crew. A 2-year-old had a drywall nail stuck in his head by his brother and the team helped him.
Doreen Shick visited the boy in the hospital after to make sure he would be fine. She received a surprise visit herself several years later.

“17 years later, (the boy) came in to thank her,” Ed Shick said.

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