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2009 Director Candidates Election Statements

Museum Info

Hollywood Museum

1355 N. Caheunga Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 464 - 2727
SAT 10a - 4p

Harbor Museum

638 Beacon Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
(323) 464 - 2727
SAT 10a - 3p

Off-hour tours available
by special request.

2009 Director Candidates Election Statements

The following statements have been provided by those individuals on the official ballot regarding elections for open seats on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society. Please review these statements prior to making your election voting selections.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The 2009 Elections are closed.

NOTE: All statements are presented as delivered to the LAFDHS by prospective board members.

Ted Aquaro
I am a current member of the Board of the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society and I am seeking your support for another term. I was appointed to the LAFD in 1961 and went off on a disability pension in 1982. My loyalty and focus remained with the department through my activity with the LAFD Memorial Committee and later with my work with the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association. When I retired from LAFRA in 2005, I began, as my health allowed, volunteering with the Historical Society. My appointment to the board was soon to follow and it allowed me to continue to stay connected with the survivors of so many of our members who have passed on. The LAFD Memorial is especially dear to my heart because I knew many of the members listed there on the memorial wall and I know many of their survivors personally. The museum is a window into the history of the department and the Memorial is a home for the hearts of hundreds of surviving family members who have lost a loved one in the service of the Los Angeles Fire Department. YOur vote will allow me continue working as an active board member, volunteer, and docent at “Old Fire Station 27.”

Dave Cox
Hello, my name is Dave Cox and am currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society (LAFDHS). I had served four terms as the president of the DWP Employees Association, a non-profit corporation. As a retired engineer of the DWP I still serve on several employee benefit committees. I have served for the past five years as a director of the LAFDHS. During that time, I have aquired 24 antique fire apparatus for the museum and currently maintain the ownership records, registration and insurance for the entire collection.

I was the co-author of our book, Land, Sea & Air, the Pictorial History of the LAFD and am currently visiting all fo the LAFD stations gathering information on our next book on the history of the stations. would like to help the museum become first rate, financially secure, and known through out the world. Thank you for your support.

Donal Dodd
My name is Donald Dodd and I want to thank you, a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society, for your past support of the LAFDHS and for taking the time to read my election statement as I ask for your support and vote of confidence.

About me:
I am a third generation LAFD firefighter, retired after 30 years of service.

I have been associated with LAFD history since 1981 and as a member of the first Historical Society in the early 1980s, helped research the history of the LAFD for the Centennial Book that was published in 1986.

I have been a member of our current Historical Society since its first meeting on September 5, 1997 and recognized as a founding father of our organization and museum.

I currently serve as Treasurer on the board and have done so for over 11 years.

In 2008, my wife Connie and I were chosen as Volunteer of the year.

I’m so proud to be a part of something so important to every member, past and present, of the LAFD and to all LAFDHS members who share a love for the rich history of the LAFD, our great Museum and beautiful memorial.

Today I’m asking for your vote so that I may continue to work for the best organization and Fire Museum in America.

Thanks again for supporting me and my fellow board members.

John Drake

I have been an LAFD Battalion Chief since 2003, and I am currently assigned to the Hollywood area in Battalion 5, which is headquartered directly adjacent to the LAFDHS/Museum. Consequently, I have had the opportunity to interact with the LAFDHS for several community events. Personally, I feel it is extremely important that the Battalion 5 office becomes more involved and liaises with the LAFDHS to achieve LAFDHS and community related objectives.

NPO/Experience / Education
In 2007, I completed a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from CSU Northridge. The curriculum focused on contemporary trends relative to public sector, private sector, and on-profit organizations (NPO). Additionally, I previously served as a volunteer for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.

Human Resource Development / Training
Currently, I am certified as a “Master Instructor” by the California State Fire Marshall’s (CSFM) office to coordinate, instruct, and supervise “Chief Officer,” “Fire Officer,” “Leadership,” and numerous other promotional/development courses. Equally, I teach “Leadership” courses for LAPD’s “West Point” Leadership Program, as well as our LAFD Leadership Academy.

LAFDHS Board of Director Aspirations
One of my primary goals is to participate in cultivating relationships between LAFD members, LAFDHS/Museum members, and the LAUSD, with ultimate aspriations of creating opportunities for 30,000 school children per year to visit the museum and learn about fire safety, fire prevention, emergency preparedness, etc. Additionally, I hope to see the LAFDHS museum become a nationally recognized state of the art facility.

Your consideration is appreciated.

Jim Finn
My name is Jim Finn. I am running for a seat on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society. I have been involved with the LAFDHS since 1999. In April, 2001, I was elected as the Vice President and served in that capacity until January of this year. At that time, I was asked by the board to accept the vacant position of President, and am currently serving in that position. I have been a hands-on participant in all aspects of the development and construction of the museum and memorial. In August of 2008, I retired from the Los Angeles Fire Department with over 40 years of service; 30 years of that time was spent as a Captain I.

My goal, if elected, is to see through the completion of the Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial, continue the growth of the museums (Hollywood and San Pedro), and to participate in the development of an educational center to teach fire and life safety to children and adults.

I respectfully ask for your support in this election.

Ellsworth Fortman
My name is Ellsworth Fortman and I have faithfully served the Citizens of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Fire Department for over 22 years and am currently assigned to FS 13 “A” platoon as a Captain I.

I feel very honored to have been nominated for a position on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Historical Society.

I have worked on boards and committees in the past and possess a good understanding of the necessary qualifications. I have served on the Board of Directors at the Hart Pony League Baseball Fields, on the Chief Engineer’s inter-group relationship committee, and most recently I took an active role in teh grand opening of new Fire Station 13. I am also currently in the inception phase of bringing together a group of local business owners, two council districts, the LAPD, and Fire Station personnel to start up a youth baseball program for the kids who reside in Fire Station 13’s district.

I would consider it an absolute privilege to serve on the Board of Directors for the Historical Society and feel I possess the required organizational skills.

My vision for the LAFDHS is to unite the LAFD past with the LAFD present and regularly reach out to our community so that they too can share in our rich Fire Department tradition and Heritage which is a large part of the rich tradition of the greatest city in America, the City of Los Angeles.

Robert Gladden
I would be delighted to serve on the board of the LAFDHS. As a recently retired LAFD member with years of experience, I have many qualities that lend themselves to the governance of this growing organization:

I value the memorial. My father died while at a structure fire in Pacific Palisades, and his name is on the wall. Preserving and understanding how to keep our fallen brothers and sister in the public’s mind is of significance to the entire city and Fire Service worldwide. I have military and firefighting experience. As such, I am familiar with the structure of large organizations, and I know the importance of proper governance. I fully understand the responsibilities that go with being a board member, and I value the position and experience of those I serve with, in addition to the stated mission for the public.

I spent the last 12 years of my career in Hollywood as an inspector. I have many valuable relationships and friendships with individuals, businesses, and mid-career firefighters city wide.

I value the LAFD’s history. As an experienced photographer, I greatly appreciate the importance of maintaining it photographically for others to enjoy through my collection of photographs depicting the history of this great department.

I respect the importance of the LAFDHS as a public charity and know the LAFDHS serving not its directors, but the public and members I will do my best to make the organization transparent, effective, and a inviting place to visit.

Ben Holder
I am a current member of the Board of the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society, with seven years of service and I am seeking your support for another term. Prior to joining the LAFD I served in the United States Air Force for nine years as an aircraft crash firefighter. My resume includes ratings as both commercial fixed wing and rotor craft pilot; this experience is helpful in preserving the equipment and the history of air operations on the LAFD. In my later years on the department I worked at Rescue Maintenance where I gained the knowledge to become an international authority and expert witness in the field of breathing apparatus. This knowledge has helped me to organized the breathing apparatus collection at out Museum. With my extensive expertise in these two specialized areas I feel I can be a continuing asset to the Historical Society. To assist the board in getting the Museum structure suitable in appearance for public visits, I rebuilt the windows and window sills on three sides of the building. Between working on the displays attending work parties at the museum I get immense personal satisfaction out of conducting tours of our Museum and Memorial during business hours and for special events. I am asking for your support and your vote to allow me to continue this work of preserving the history of the Department and honoring our fallen heros.

John Hunter
While my vocation is law, I have an avocation which concerns the fire service. I am a member of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus (SPAAMFA). I won an antique fire engine. My oldest son works part time with CDF in Avila Beach while he is completing his course of study at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He hopes to pursue a career in the fire service. I have visited with interest the Museum and would like to be a part of the preservation and educational efforts there.
In addition to law related groups, I served on the Board of Directors of the Episcopal Homes for three years. Community service includes active involvement with my boys in scouting. Both are Eagle Scouts. I also served on the development committee of their school.

I would appreciate the opportunity to assist the Museum in pursuing its mission.

Timothy Kennoy
Timothy Kennoy, an accountant for over 40 years, has had a lifelong interest in the fire service. Upon retirement from his accounting practice he applied this interest by volunteering for the LAFDHS. His primary focus has been on the museum at Fire Station #36 in San Pedro. He is there nearly every Saturday meeting and greeting guests and giving tours. He has been involved in the Society’s activities in Hollywood as well providing support to the Memorial and volunteering at functions. His particular interest is his desire to raise money for and assist with the restoration of “Old Fireboat 2”, the Ralph J. Scott.

In addition to his important connection to the Historical Society’s harbor facility and Boat 2 are Tim’s keen financial skills and acumen which, if elected, will provide a significant component to the management of the LAFDHS.

Bill Rolland
I am honorably retired from the LAFD, and a Medal of Valor recipient. I am also the founder of the William Rolland Firefighters Foundation, and the William Rolland Firefighters Education Institute, which is the educational arm of the LAFDHS. In addition, I have contributed in excess of 1/2 million dollars to the Educational protion of the LAFDHS, and to the memorial fund. I have also contributed to the Los Angeles Fire Relief Association, and I have contributed to firemen, and their families in need, throughout the past years. I have been a LAFDHS Board Member since its inception.

Michael Thomas
I am a 29-year veteran of the department, and have held the rank of Battalion Chief for the past 11-years. I am currently assigned to Battalion 5, headquartered next door to the LAFD Historical Museum. During my 2-year tenure in Battalion 5, it has been my desire to build a stronger relationship between the department and the LAFDHS, as I feel it is a natural alliance; especially in accomplishing community related objectives.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management (Univ. of Redlands ’86) and a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice/Public Administration (CSULA ’80). These disciplines required studies in management concepts for both public, private, and well as non-profit organizations. I have recently been directly involve with coordinating NPO’s contributions to the department’s Community-Based Fire Fatality Reduction program.

Graduate work in teh field of HRM (1986) - Tenured middle manager of the LAFD (11 years) - Credentialed Vocational Education Instructor (16 years) for the Los Angeles Community College District - California State University Long Beach part-time faculty member

One of my primary goals would be to develop a stronger collaborative effort between the LAFD and the LAFDHS, along with key members of the public, business community, civic and social groups, schools and local government, in the implementation of an effective Fire Fatality & Hazard Reduction program in the City of Los Angeles. With its rich history of service to the community, and its broad public appeal, I would like the Museum to be recognized as a state of the art Public Safety Education Center.

William A. Whitney
My involvement with the LAFDHS has spanned eight years, serving on the Board for five years, and four years as Secretary and a member of the executive committee. I also have served on and/or chaired several other committees including By-laws, Nominating, and Elections. As a management consultant with over thirty years experience my focus and value has been on the business and administrative functions of the society, I have been supportive of and involved with functions related to the memorial, and serve as the liaison with MySafe:LA, which is the key component of the Society’s educational program. Additional involvement with the LAFD family has included consulting with the Relief Association and volunteering with LAFD-CERT where I am currently the Division 1 Coordinator. It was my honor to be asked to serve as the 2008 Fire Service Day Honorary Chief representing Division 3.

I have served on and consulted with numerous profit and non-profit boards and look forward to continuing, with your support, to positively impact the future of the LAFDHS, with a focus on our safety and educational programs.

Robert Lee
I have served on the LAFD HS Board for almost 7 years and chair the Special Events Committee, which coordinates all Museum functions. Prior to joining the LAFDHS Preparedness (BICEPP) for 22 years. I am a retired LA County Deputy Sheriff and former Director of Security for Great Western Financial Corp. In 2007, I was selected as the Historical Society’s Volunteer of the Year support the the Historical Society, our Museums in Hollywood and San Pedro, as well as our ongoing efforts to find a permanent home for the Ralph J. Scott hear Fire Station 112. Together, we can bring world-wide attention to the hundreds of firefighters paid the ultimate price in the service to LA residents and to continue the word of the Wm. Rolland Firefighters Educational Institute. Please vote, the future of the Historical Society depends on you.

Tom Moran
I joined the LAFD in 1965 and retired after 42 years, about a third of the history of the Dept., after the founding in 1886. I have a deep appreciation for the contributions of those who have served in the past and a strong desire to help the present and future Members understand what a great Fire Department the LAFD has become.

The Historical Society Board of Directors operates 2 Museums, the Memorial Plaza, the Educational Institute and is currently working with the Harbor Dept. to build a display building for the Ralph J. Scott.

My background as a Board Member of a 231-unit condominium association exposed me to the business requirements of running a large operation, which the Historical society has become. Working with vendors, contractors and lawyers well prepared me for a position on the Historical Society Board of Directors.

If elected, I will strive to preserve the rich history of the Dept., continue to memorialize our fallen Firefighters, provide educational programs for both young and old, and help keep the Los Angeles Fire Dept. Historical Society strong for the future.

Joe Ortiz
I am a founding member of the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society and have remained a sustaining supporter for over a quarter century. My official entry into the emergency services field started in 1968 when I was appointed as a Los Angeles City ambulance driver; from there I moved to the LAFD as an ambulance attendant and was retired in 1992. For as long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with fire and emergency apparatus which has led to my personally collecting over 30 pieces of equipment. To “feed my habit” I started a business renting emergency apparatus and uniforms to the movie and television industry. My wife and I still run this business today and along with the rentals we donate our time and apparatus for community events such as parades and safety fairs. I currently co-chair the Apparatus Committee of the Historical Society and the preservation and maintenance of our vast collection of unique and historically significant fire apparatus.

Ryan Penrod
Ryan Penrod has been a Los Angeles City Firefighter for the past 7 years. He is a member of the swiftwater rescue team. Ryan is the Director of the Friends of Wilshire 501 c 3 non-profit teaching children about fire safety in the community.  He was an ocean lifeguard for the Los Angeles County Fire department teaching children ages 9-17 water rescue, CPR, and surf competition for approximately 8 years.  Ryan is a certified instructor for the American Red Cross where he donates his time teaching CPR, First Aid, and open water rescue.

The museum is a unique and amazing place that captures the great moments in the LAFD's proud history, and  honors those who have paid the ultimate price.   There are so many stories to be told.  I think a great vehicle is an education program for our youth.  I would like to see inner active tours of the museum for children all over Los Angeles City.  I have volunteered at the museum many times teaching school children  about safety with the  use of my partner "Wilshire the Fire Dog".  Every time we go it is a rewarding experience!  I have my BPA from ULV.

 I truly don't know if I am qualified to be a board member, but if I am chosen I will do my best to see a youth education program takes off. .......what a great place to teach kids about fire safety!