A Centennial Garden honoring the 100th anniversary of Fire Station 29 was unveiled Thursday by a host of civic leaders, first responders, and city officials. In a patriotic ceremony befitting the 100 years of service to the community, “Clara Barton” welcomed the group assembled in the garage of Fire Station 29 decorated with bunting and red and white roses. Barton, portrayed by Gay Storm, was a pioneering nurse who helped distribute needed supplies to the Union Army during the Civil War and later founded the disaster relief organization, the American Red Cross.
“I like to have a history lesson with these kinds of events,” Lyn MacEwen Cohen, Hancock Park resident and founder of the First-in Fire Foundation who was vision behind the garden told the Buzz. Cohen and her husband Marc, who serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the California National Guard started the foundation after the national tragedy of 911 as way to support first responders and fire fighters.
The Cohen’s fundraised for the garden, gathering support from nearby neighborhoods served by Fire Station 29 and others including the Hancock Park Garden Club who provided a $25,000 gift to kick off the project and introduced Cohen to Mia Lehrer of Studio-MLA who donated the time of designer Rebecca Schwaner. The garden club has also agreed to help with ongoing maintenance of the garden.
Thursday’s threatening clouds gave way to bright sunshine as LAFD Fire Commissioner Jimmie Woods-Gray did the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon to the garden that had been installed last fall.
In addition to beatifying the campus of Fire Station 29 and demonstrating community support for our first responders, Cohen is working with the Hancock Park Garden Club to explore ways to use the garden as a demonstration garden illustrating with water-wise with plant materials that are a mix of native and non-native water-wise plants that will support local wildlife complete with an arroyo for channelling rain water allowing precious water to remain on the site and replenish the ground water. The small rain garden was put to good use with last week’s rains.
“Beautification met patriotism on the front lawn of the fire station this week” said Cohen. “Our mission is to connect local citizens to the fire station, friendship is the first step in emergency preparedness. Cohen was very pleased with the festivities. She has been working on this project for several years. She told the Buzz she was particularly pleased to welcome the local Los Angeles Police department commanders and the military to the ceremony. She said she hoped to begin working with the local police stations soon.
Local officials in attendance included CD4 Council Member David Ryu and his predecessor former Council Member Tom LaBonge, who initiated the project during his last term. Board of Public Works President and First-in Fire Foundation board member Kevin James was there along with senior leadership of the Los Angeles Fire Department including LAFD Commissioner Jimmy Hara and Jimmie Woods-Gray, Fire Chief Ralph Terraza, Chief of Staff Graham Everett who served as emcee, Captain Roger Fowble, Chaplain gave the invocation, Deputy Chief Phillip Fligiel, Battalion Chief Paul Pham. Los Angeles Police Department Wilshire Division Captain Odo and Olympic Division Captain Ahmad Zarekani as well as Senior Lead Officer Joe Pelayo were also in attendance.
Community donors and parters included Hancock Park Garden Club members, President Jennifer Fain, Melanie Boettcher, Janet Loveland, Wendy Guzin and this reporter were in attendance. Larry Guzin, President of Windsor Square Association, GWNC Board member Mike Genewick who was also a founding members of the Friends of 29, an early neighborhood support group; and Janet Loveland and Sue Carr, Loveland Carr Properties. Carolyn Layport, Hancock Park resident and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Steve Rosenthal, Olympia Medical Center and First-in Fire Foundation board member.Other donors not in attendance include the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, et. 1948, Fremont Place Association, Wilshire Park Association, Windsor Village Association, garden installers Nature-Scape, Inc; Jeffrey & Allyn Levine who provided the boulders.
Below are more photos from the unveiling provided to the Buzz by Allison Schallert Photography for First-in Fire Foundation. All photos in this story are Schallert’s unless noted.