Montecito Firefighters’ Charitable Foundation Hosts Celebration Fundraiser

$60,000 Proceeds Support Firefighters, Victims of Disasters, and Others in Need

Foundation board: Secretary Shawn Whilt, Vice President Lucas Grant, President Aaron Briner, Member-at-Large Alex Broumand, and Treasurer Dan Arnold | Credit: Gail Arnold

The firefighters behind the Montecito Firefighters’ Charitable Foundation just keep on giving. These brave, generous individuals who risk their lives for us on a daily basis desire to do even more to help those in need — so they run a charitable foundation that provides grants to ill and injured firefighters and their families, children, victims of natural disasters, and burn victims. On February 1, the Foundation held its second annual celebration fundraiser, this time at the Rosewood Miramar Beach, where guests enjoyed a fun celebration and raised $60,000 (net) for this worthy nonprofit. Among the 210 guests were 85 firefighters and their significant others (nearly the whole department), whose tickets were paid for by generous donors.

VIPs arrived early for a cocktail reception, where Montecito Fire Protection District (MFPD) Chief Kevin Taylor recognized the incredible men running the foundation:  Fire Marshal Aaron Briner (president), Engineer Lucas Grant (vice president), Firefighter/Paramedic Shawn Whilt (secretary), Firefighter/EMT Dan Arnold (treasurer), and Assistant Fire Marshal Alex Broumand (member-at-large). 

Taylor related how the firefighters in his department go above and beyond every single day that they are on duty for all in the community, and on top of that, in their spare time, this group of five active duty firefighters also run this foundation to further help those in need.   

Other guests then arrived and the cocktail party continued in and around the ballroom, followed by a gourmet buffet dinner in the ballroom. Foundation Vice President Lucas Grant welcomed guests and shared that while the primary focus of those who run the foundation is responding to emergency calls, their passion for helping others drives them to run the foundation as well. He both thanked guests for past support and asked for further support so the foundation can continue to make a difference in the community.

Andrew Firestone, as always, entertained as he raised funds in the auction and paddle raise. Event Steering Committee Member and event sponsor Nina Terzian had the winning bid for a 10-person dinner party at MFPD Firehouse One with the firefighters preparing the food and joining the guests ($3,600) and a children’s birthday party at the firehouse ($1,600).  Vacation offerings generated even higher bids. After the paddle raise, N’Demand resumed playing and guests danced into the night.

Formed in 2006 by the Montecito Firefighter’s Association, the Montecito Firefighters’ Charitable Foundation was a small, quiet organization until a couple of years ago, when the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow sparked an uptick in donations and then the organization began hosting an annual fundraiser.

Foundation grants, which totaled $55,000 last year, went to debris flow victims; firefighter and firefighter family medical expenses and funeral expenses; firefighter mental health support (donations to the S.B. Police Foundation’s At Ease program and the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness); burn victims, and underprivileged children in the area. While the assistance to firefighters is focused on those in Santa Barbara County, the foundation has also made grants to firefighters in Northern and Southern CA and has no geographic restrictions on helping firefighters in need.

The Montecito Firefighter’s Association is the nonunion organization representing firefighters as well as dispatch, mechanic, prevention, and administrative personnel. For more info on the Foundation, go to http://montecitofirefightersfoundation.com.

For coverage of other events, go to independent.com/society. Send invites to gail@independent.com.

Photo: Gail ArnoldJo Taylor and Montecito Fire Protection District Chief Kevin Taylor
Photo: Gail ArnoldMontecito Firefighter/Paramedic Andy Rupp (one of Lauren Cantin’s rescuers), Miles Hartfeld, wine sponsor and Event Committee Member Gretchen Lieff (Monlieff Wines), and Firefighter/Paramedic Trevor Burch

Photo: Gail ArnoldCaptain Evan Skei, Firefighter Eric Klemowicz, Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin French, and Firefighter Jered Walberg
Photo: Gail ArnoldMajor event sponsor Melinda Goodman Kemp and Robert Kemp
Photo: Gail ArnoldGuests enjoy the VIP reception.
Photo: Gail ArnoldN’Demand performs.

Photo: Gail ArnoldFoundation board: Secretary Shawn Whilt, Vice President Lucas Grant, President Aaron Briner, Member-at-Large Alex Broumand, and Treasurer Dan Arnold

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