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By Tim Beedle, STaff WriTer O


ne aspect of volunteering that often gets overlooked is that you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, volunteering is a


great thing to do with someone you love. But you don’t have to tell that to retired LAFD Cap- tain Gerry Layton and his wife Jan. They’ve been volunteering for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund and other worthwhile organizations together for many years. “As a retired firefighter and a retired


teacher, we wanted to be able to volunteer and give back to the community,” says Jan. “In 2007, we were asked to volunteer with our fire truck golf cart at the LAFD Invitational. We have returned every year since, to help in any way that we can at the tournament. We also volunteer for our church and at our grandkids’ schools!” That fire


truck golf cart that she’s referring to has become some- thing of an icon at the Widows & Orphan’s fundrais- ers and events. It’s a custom-designed 1969 Taylor Dunn industrial cart that Gerry and Jan salvaged and rebuilt into a min- iature fire truck that has since gone on to make appearances all throughout the United States. “It was found in a trash pile in a


building in Pasadena,” explains Gerry. “Fire Station 12 was at the building on a drill, and afterward I inquired about its availability and was told that it was going to the dump the next day. So I returned to the building and rescued the soon-to-be ‘Fire Fightin’ 12 Golf Cart.’” Like any good celebrity, the Fire


Fightin’ 12 has its own trailer, which is useful for those long trips in between appearances. “It is always quite a hit wherever we take it,” says Jan. “It has been to Mt. Rushmore, Oregon, the Grand Canyon, Colorado River, plus many lo- cal campgrounds. It’s also been in several local parades and car shows.” While the LAFD Invitational is a


natural fit for the Laytons and the Fire Fightin’ 12, it’s not the only event they do. In fact, one of their favorite volunteer experiences involved looking after the Guest of Honor at the annual Hope for Firefighters lunch time festival.


“One highlight was escorting Tom-


my Lasorda around,” the couple shares. “We are lifelong Dodgers fans, and it was such an honor to spend time with him. He loves the LAFD and was very proud to be the Guest of Honor and support the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund.” Gerry and Jan know the risks that


firefighters face every day. After all, as a for- mer firefighter, Gerry used to face those risks himself. Perhaps that’s why they’ve been so generous when it comes to volunteering their time.


unteering very ing,”


reveals.


same feel


at a


“Vol- is


reward- Gerry “It’s


reward-


such a good feeling help and


to


others the


time sense of enjoyment and accomplishment.


After working for the LAFD for 39 years, we couldn’t be happier to volunteer for the Wid- ows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund, which is such a wonderful organization sup- porting firefighters and their families.”


Of course, the charity couldn’t carry


out its mission of helping those firefighters and their families without the support of volun- teers. And we’re extremely honored to count Gerry and Jan Layton—and the Fire Fightin’ 12—among them.


June 2012 • 9


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