LAFD, LAPD, CHP honor best of the best in the Valley
“Day in and day out, my folks perform miracles in the streets, making sure the Valley doesn’t burn down,” Rueda said. “These are the men and women of the Fire Department; not what you read in the papers.” LAFD Capt. Mark Gozawa of Station 104 in Winnetka received the Tom Taylor Award of Excellence. Sharing the Firefighter of the Year award were Capt. Gerald C. Horwedel of Station 96 in Chatsworth; Engineer Oscar Gutierrez from Station 90 in Van Nuys and Apparatus Operator David Carl Thomas of Station 75 in Mission Hills. James R. Goldsworthy of Station 114 in Van Nuys received the Firefighter/Paramedic of the Year award. With a large contingent of his officers at the luncheon, William Bratton, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, said he’s looking ahead to his second term. “Thank you for the privilege and honor to represent you,” Bratton told the LAPD honorees. VAN NUYS – Nearly a dozen San Fernando Valley law enforcement officers and firefighters were honored at a banquet Thursday for their exceptional service to the city of Los Angeles. About 300 people gathered at the Airtel Plaza Hotel for the 28th annual Police Officers, Firefighters and Paramedics Recognition Luncheon. The honorees put their lives on the line every day, but were selected not so much for heroic deeds as for their persistent “way of giving back to the city of Los Angeles more than they’re asked to in their daily jobs,” said City Councilman Greig Smith, the host. Before handing out plaques,Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief Mario Rueda said the performance and character of the firefighters who received them Thursday reflect the LAFD more than news reports and editorials in which the department has been criticized for hazing and on racial and sexist issues. The chief came under fire from the rank and file for his criticism of officers after the May Day immigration rally in which dozens of civilians, reporters and police officers were injured. But Bratton commended his force Thursday for lower crime rates before proudly shaking the hands of the award recipients. LAPD officers sharing the Police Officer of the Year award were Van Nuys Division Officer Dax Martin; West Valley Division Officer James Jester; Valley Traffic Division Officer Douglas P. Larkin and Devonshire Division Sgt. James R. Leiphardt. Devonshire Department Detective John Doerbecker was the recipient of the Dan Danko Award of Excellence. West Valley California Highway Patrol Officer James Oberlander received the Outstanding CHP Officer of the Year award. After the ceremony, Councilman Smith paid homage to “unsung heroes,” asking members of the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ families to stand. “They stay home, fearing for their (loved ones’) lives and safety, never sure that they’re coming home,” Smith said. [email protected] (818) 713-3329160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!