La Jollans rally in support of Fire Station #9 renovations

The first responders of Fire Station 9 will be honored at a community celebration dedicated to raising funds to remodel the firehouse at the corner of Torrey Pines and La Jolla Parkway.

It is the busiest station in the community.

La Jolla residents Sally and Greg Ricchiuti will host the benefit on Sept. 10.

In addition to mingling with the Station 9 crew — attired in uniform for the special occasion —guests will be treated to dinner and the chance to the sounds of the Wayne Foster Orchestra.

Since the days following the 2007 Witch Creek Fire — when Sally and her children paid a thank-you visit to their neighborhood firehouse and found Station 9 in dire need of refurbishment — the Ricchiuti family has led the charge to raise private funds to pay for its renovation. The City of San Diego lacks the funding to accomplish the task.

Ricchiuti has raised approximately $130,000 of the $400,000 fundraising goal she set to refurbish Station 9.

“We did set a goal initially of $500,000, but had to lower it because it’s just so difficult to raise money at this time,” she said adding her objective is just really to create a better place for firefighters by providing them with private quarters and new accommodations — beds, paint, a gym and kitchen appliances.

“We’re really making progress and hoping to kick this into high gear,” Ricchiuti said, noting she believes, with all the local and San Diego County contractors that have come forward to contribute, that it’s going to happen.

“I’m not concerned about the labor,” she said. “It’s securing the money we need to really see this to fruition.”

Ricchiuti added there will be no permits necessary for the remodel as it is all “inside work,” though it will need to be signed off on by San Diego Fire Chief Javier Mainar.

Sharing her family’s passion for recognizing the contributions of Station 9 firefighters, Ricchiuti said, “On a day, when our country pauses to honor the courageous men and women who are on the frontlines of an enduring campaign to protect our families, neighbors and homes from natural and man-made disasters, we invite La Jollans to join our family in paying tribute to the first responders of Fire Station 9. They deserve a home-away-from-home that is as secure and respectable as they themselves are expected and required to be.”

If you go

What: Give in Kind to Fire Station 9 gala

When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10

Where: La Valencia Hotel, 1132 Prospect St.

Tickets: $175 per person

Contact: Sally Ricchiuti (619) 985-7255

Donations: Individuals and businesses can contribute online at kindtonine.org

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