Station 69 Chili Dinners Return!

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      November 12, 2021

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Station 69 Chili Dinners Return!
PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN Gathering for dinner on Tuesday night, Oct. 25 were, from left, Topanga community volunteers Tam Taylor and Mary Isaacs joining Firefighter Larsen, Firefighter Specialist Daniel Natalizio, Firefighter Paramedic Paul Payne, Captain Kevin Ohara and Jaspreet Katrib, who helped revive Topanga’s annual tradition of Station 69 chili dinners.
Reviving a much-beloved Topanga tradition, some amazing chili dinners were served to our firefighters at L.A. County Fire Station 69 over three nights of a rainy October week. Topangan Jaspreet Katrib spearheaded the event held on Oct. 25, 26, and 27 for different shifts of the captains, paramedics and firefighters who expressed delight with the delicious hot food. “The minute Stacy [Sledge] told me about the chili dinners, I knew it's something we needed to revive right away,” Katrib wrote via email. “Hearing about the tradition just warmed my heart. It’s such a small gesture to show our gratitude to these guys who work so hard to protect our community. It’s important to me that our firefighters know we care about them.” Representing the Topanga Town Council and Topanga Chamber of Commerce, some outstanding community volunteers assisted in planning and serving the meals including Mary Isaacs, Mary Menken, who made Mexican salad, and Teresa Hames, who provided the veggie platters. Tam Taylor and her neighbors, Lori Callahan and Ami Kirby, brought homemade desserts. Katrib prepared fresh, sparkling lemonade and brought rice pudding made by her mother, Harjeet, and Dianne Porchia brightened up the feast with a lovely fall centerpiece for the table. The star of the event, however, was the amazing meat chili and corn muffins prepared by Chef Alan and Heidi Jackson, owners of the Bull and Butterfly restaurant in Playa Del Rey. (https://www.bullandbutterfly.com/). To show their appreciation on a rainy Monday night, the women fed Captain Steve Fowler, Firefighter Specialist Moises Gallardo, Firefighter Paramedic Guillermo Gonzalez and Firefighter Emily Martins. On Tuesday night, they fed Captain Kevin Ohara, Firefighter Specialist Daniel Natalizio, Firefighter Paramedic Paul Payne, and Firefighter Lawrence Muno. Wednesday night brought together Captain Steve Fowler; Firefighter Specialist Moises Gallardo; Firefighter Paramedic Michael Calderon, and Firefighter Paramedic Paul Payne. “The Monday rains couldn't have been more perfect for a chili dinner,” Katrib wrote. “What a way to kick off the event! The firefighters were so thankful and appreciative! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all their stories, fire-related and not. By the third night, I felt like I was hanging out with my friends. As we were heading out after the final dinner, the Captain said ‘I feel like you just kicked off the holiday season for us.’ Wow! Made all the sense to me why this tradition is so beloved. I feel lucky to have received so much support from several amazing women of the community, offering help and guidance, couldn't have done it without them! If I may, my heartfelt thank you to my longtime friends, Alan and Heidi Jackson for cooking such a delicious chili—it was a hit!” Appropriately enough, on Tuesday night, just as Capt. Ohara and his crew were finishing dinner and discussing fire safety with the volunteers, the alarm sounded. The dispatcher’s voice crackled over the loudspeaker; a call for a rescue. The women asked if they could stay and clean up, but Capt. Ohara was insistent. “Just leave it all right there,” he said. “It’s fine.” With that, everyone quickly exited the station and by the time they were in the parking lot, the fire crew was already on the Boulevard in two trucks with lights and sirens blaring. What a reassuring sight, because it’s really great to know these folks at Station 69 are always on alert in Topanga keeping everyone safe, night and day.
PHOTO BY JASPREET KATRIB Station 69’s Captain Fowler serves himself some tasty chili on a rainy Monday night in Topanga!
Annemarie Donkin

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November 12, 2021

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