One of my priorities when I am elected to the Irvine City Council is to make sure that Irvine residents have adequate fire services in our new villages. Recently I had the honor to join Orange County Firefighters and local residents for the Grand Opening of the Orange County Fire Authority’s Fire Station 20. The family friendly event included a ribbon cutting ceremony to kickoff the dedication held on July 19th. Guests enjoyed touring the facilities and kids got to sit inside firetrucks and meet with firefighters and paramedics.
One of the highlights of the opening event was the ceremony’s Guest of Honor, World War II Veteran Bob Blankman, 96, who was stationed at the El Toro Marine Base when it first opened in 1943. Blankman was given the opportunity of cutting the ribbon along with myself, local dignitaries, and the new Chief of OCFA, Brian Fennessy.
The location of Fire Station 20 goes way back in terms of Irvine’s military history. The 1.25 acres that make up the new facility resides where the old air station’s Officer’s Club was located and is a nod to the El Toro Marine Base. The base was built for aircraft squadron formation and trainings before going into overseas combat. The Officer’s Club was the place to be seen for social events and activities where every Friday afternoon Officers were expected to attend the club.
The base officially closed July 2nd, 1999, almost 20 years before last week’s dedication to the new station. Some of the airplanes that were home to the base and utilized in World War II can now be seen at the Great Park’s historical Hangar 244.
The new fire station is the latest addition to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine and replaces the temporary one located for years on Trabuco Road. The state-of-the-art facility is a huge welcome to the area and will help aid firefighters by providing faster response times to the growing neighborhoods and facilities surrounding the community. The station includes a 4 person truck company (Truck 20) and a battalion chief (Battalion 10) as well as a OCFA Hazardous Materials Response Team.
Fire Station 20 is OCFA’s 73rd Fire Station which services 23 cities, including the unincorporated areas of Orange County and over 1.6 million residents in its region. It’s one of four stations located at Irvine’s public parks; the other three being at Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Park next to Irvine City Hall, Heritage Community Park adjacent to Irvine High School and the Woollett Aquatics Center, and Windrow Community Park on Jeffrey and Barranca.
The OCFA’s customer service motto is to provide “superior services that result in no lives or property lost” which they reach “through exceptional teamwork and strong partnerships in our community.” We are proud to have them as part of the Irvine Community and serving our residents.
The station is located at 7050 Corsair in Irvine on the north side of the Great Park near the Orange County Soccer Club’s Championship Soccer Stadium. For more information on the Orange County Fire Authority visit www.ocfa.org.
The 4th of July might be Americans' favorite holiday, as we celebrate our cherished independence from the British in 1776, watch parades on Main Street, wave American flags, and enjoy firework displays. For immigrants families and communities, celebrating the 4th of July is about celebrating the promise of America, including getting a fair shot at realizing the American dream. From the foundation of this great nation, immigrants have contributed to the rich social fabric that makes this country a city on a hill and a beacon for those who seek freedom.
Each night, I hold my daughters close, grateful that this country opened its doors to my great-grandparents facing anti-semitism in Poland and pogroms in Russia and my great-great-grandparents who escaped dire poverty in Germany and Wales. Each of my relatives came to America for a better life and their bravery enabled me to raise my children safely and in prosperity in this country.
Today I reflect on my role as an American, to lend a hand to my neighbor in need, to stand up for what's right, and to make positive change in my community. We marched for detained children and families last weekend because due process is the American way. I wish you and your family a safe 4th of July. May it be a time to reflect on all that we have and to ask what we can do to help others through service in our community.