From left to right: Fire Department Captain Mike DeLeo from CAL FIRE (Nipomo); Engineer-Paramedic Brandon Kato from Morro Bay; Firefighter-Paramedic Billy Nason from San Luis Obispo Fire Department; and Master of King David’s Lodge No. 209 Robert Bettencourt.
Earlier this month, the Masons of King David’s Lodge No. 209 in San Luis Obispo showed their commitment to local firefighters at their annual appreciation dinner.
This year’s festivities honored three firefighters from San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Each firefighter received a framed certificate commemorating their exemplary service to the community. Lodge brothers also made a generous $2,500 donation in the firefighters’ honor to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.
This program was started more than 10 years ago by Past Master Ken Fowler, who brought the idea with him from his previous lodge in Bakersfield, California.
When he proposed it to the lodge, current Secretary George Brown was enthusiastic. “I had worked in fire services for more than 30 years – as a paid firefighter and then as a volunteer firefighter and training officer.”
Fowler and Brown worked together to implement the program, which recognizes local firefighters who have demonstrated exemplary service. “They’ve gone above and beyond, both in their fire department and in their communities,” says Brown. “We take a lot of pride in giving them the respect and thanks they deserved by recognizing them each year.”
The program has had far-reaching effects. It inspired Past Grand Master Russ Charvonia’s partnership with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, and has made the lodge more visible in its community.
In addition to applauding firefighters and a number of other community endeavors, the lodge also recognizes peace officers each fall.
“We are looking forward to continuing to celebrate our firefighters and peace officers in the future,” Brown says.
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