Rancho Santa Fe Rotary will celebrate first responders with Appreciation Dinner event

Fire station
The RSF Fire Department’s first responders are among those who will be honored at the RSF Rotary’s First Responders Appreciation Dinner April 21.
(Jon Clark)

Rancho Santa Fe Rotary is bringing back the First Responders Appreciation Dinner, a chance to thank the many first responders who protect and provide emergency assistance to the Ranch and the greater surrounding area.

For over 17 years, the Rotary sponsored the event to honor local law enforcement and firefighters, to give back to first responders who give so much to the community. The event will return on Friday, April 21 at The Secret Garden at Rancho Santa Fe.

“Several years ago after North County experienced devastating fires, the RSF Rotary Club and the local community banded together to take care of those who took care of us,” said third generation RSF Rotarian and event co-chair Chuck Badger . “It has always been one of our club’s most meaningful projects. The last three years took a toll on all of us but more so on those who responded to the life-threatening emergencies.”

The evening will treat local first responders to an evening out with colleagues, spouses and friends. First responders will also take the opportunity to recognize top performers and leaders within their respective departments.

“This is the first time in seven or eight years that we’re having it and it’s well deserved,” said longtime Rotary member, past-president and event co-chair Patrick Galvin.

Over the years, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District’s service area has grown from a one-chief, 10-man volunteer group protecting 3,800 residents to a district that covers 50 square miles and protects over 34,000 residents including Fairbanks Ranch, 4S Ranch, Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove. Fire season now starts earlier and lasts longer than ever before.

Galvin said back when the event first began, it was a hamburger cookout in the RSF Association parking lot.

“As volunteers, we not only make sure the event is sponsored by community members who benefit from the services of the first reconsiders, but we work the kitchen, serve the tables, set up and clean up,” said RSF Rotary President Paulette Britton, event co-chair.

“In the past, Rotarians even did the cooking,” added co-chair Katherine Foster. “But now we leave that to the professionals.”

The April event is organized by the RSF Rotary Club and is supported entirely by donations from local businesses and individuals, including Kleege Enterprises, Epic Events and Discount Tires to name just a few. The Rotary is looking for more who would like to contribute to support this evening of appreciation. To donate, visit Checks can be mailed to the RSF Rotary Foundation at PO Box 766, Rancho Santa Fe, 92067 with “first responder” in the memo. For more information, contact Cindy Wuthrick at (760) 815-3905.