Firefighters’ efforts spark campaign


Funds sought to improve Station No. 9

Inspired by the selflessness of San Diego firefighters whose herculean efforts were evidenced in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, La Jollans Sally and Greg Ricchiuti hosted a fundraising benefit at their home on Nov. 5, kicking off the “Give in Kind to Station No. 9” campaign.

“I just have such appreciation for servicemen and women in the military, police and fire departments,” said Sally Ricchiuti, whose family sheltered family friends when they were forced to evacuate their home during the Witch Creek Fire. “I’m very touched and grateful that they chose to go into that line of work.”

Ricchiuti noted that her family also lost a close friend who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, yet another remembrance of the debt citizens owe firefighters.

“It was a real reminder of how these people put their lives on the line for us each and every day,” she said.

In a show of appreciation after the Witch Creek Fire, the Ricchiuti family chose Station No. 9 in La Jolla at Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Parkway for special attention and appreciation, bringing them dinners and notes and signs in a show of respect for their service.

Upon viewing the Spartan conditions of the firefighters’ residence, Ricchiuti said her family determined that it was time to take action to help.

“I toured their station, and it just broke my heart the conditions these guys were working 72-hour shifts under: dormitorylike sleeping quarters with shower curtains for privacy, bare beds without pillows,” she said.

Capt. Kyle Passini of La Jolla’s Fire Station No. 9 agreed that facility accommodations are long overdue for an update.

“We’ve had both men and women on the job for years, and our dorm area is only separated by lockers that don’t go all the way to the ceiling and curtains that pull across, not like most stations that have dry-wall rooms,” he said. “The carpet and paint in the station are all pretty worn and dirty overall. The kitchen cabinets could use a redoing.”

Ricchiuti said accomplishing the remodel for the firefighters “would be an honor and privilege.”

“My wish is for the Give in Kind to Station #9 Campaign to provide these dedicated individuals a glimpse into our gratitude and respect for protecting all of us.”

Joining in the firefighter fundraiser at the Ricchiutis was fashion designer Tory Burch.

“Tory Burch is well recognized for their philanthropic efforts across the country, and we are honored to have their participation in our local fire house, Station No. 9 in La Jolla,” Ricchiuti said.

Want to help?

To support the Give in Kind to Station No. 9, e-mail Sally Ricchiuti at Donations will be tax-deductible.