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It takes a village to renovate a fire station

Last Friday, some of the “La Jolla Light” staff attended the ribbon cutting ceremony of the recently remodeled local firehouse, La Jolla Fire Station 13. Among the dignitaries present were Major Jerry Sanders, city council president Scott Peters and San Diego fire chief Tracy Jarman. But most of those in attendance were the people who put the project together, funded the renovation and rebuilt the fire station; the residents and businesspeople of La Jolla, and the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club. It was powerful example of what can happen when a community comes together.

In March of Last year, Light Reporter Travis Hunter wrote a story about the dilapidated condition of La Jolla’s Fire Station 13. Built as a temporary building in 1976, the station was in bad shape and poorly equipped to serve our community’s first responders. The day the article published, La Jollan Catherine Miller called up Trip Bennett, the architect who decided to remodel the fire station, and donated a $1,000. A few days later, Oliver and Paula Jones of La Jolla contributed $50,000 to the project. A third donor, who chose to remain anonymous, offered $25,000 and would match $1 for every $2 raised, up to $100,000. And a project was thus set in motion. When all was said and done, 332 individuals, families, foundations and companies raised $306,000 in cash and another $160,000 in services, materials, and in-kind donations, all in the course of a year.

Trip Bennett, of Bennett & Associates, deserves a huge debt of gratitude from the entire community of La Jolla. With his tireless enthusiasm, humor and desire to complete this project, he enlisted the help of his La Jolla Sunrise Rotary club, dozens of local contractors, including GDC Construction, Smith Brothers Construction, Beacham Construction, and many, many others.

But, as Trip said during his remarks last Friday, the entire community of La Jolla - YOU - made this renovation possible. We all thank you for your generosity, your kindness, your donations and your expertise. This could not have been accomplished without the support of the La Jolla community.

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Yes, it is true that La Jollans do not always agree on everything. But the renovation of Fire Station 13 demonstrates that, when we do put our energies together, together we can make great things happen. And if you haven’t already done so, please visit Fire Station 13, and take a look at what you have accomplished. While you’re there, please remember to tell the firefighters how much you appreciate all they do to ensure our safety.