With the arrival of 2007 comes much in the way of change at the Los Angeles Fire Department.
While change is inevitable and ultimately beneficial to our vocation, it is not without collateral impact that causes us to take pause, remember and give thanks.
Though this New Year's Eve gives us reason to thank so many, the men and women of the LAFD wish tonight to publicly salute our First Lady, Liz Bamattre for her remarkable support of our members, our families and at all times, our mission of saving lives.
At no time in our Department's 120-year history, have we been more proud of or well supported by the spouse of our Fire Chief; in this case, a woman who clearly set the highest of standards in her tireless pursuit of doing good in the name of our agency.
While the job of Fire Chief seems largely autonomous, there is a quiet understanding that the Chief must have a close and loyal confidant in whom he or she can unquestionably rely. From the moment Bill Bamattre took his oath of office, Liz Bamattre has been just that person - and more.
And it hasn't been easy.
As often as not, it was Liz who answered the phone at the Bamattre household, including one early Sunday morning in 1998 that would prove to be the first of several occassions when our Chief - and later every member of our Fire Department, would rely deeply upon her personal strength, love and support.
Yes, Liz Bamattre is one remarkable woman, who has not only devoted herself to nurturing and healing our agency in difficult times, but also to preserving the memory of our fallen colleagues evermore.
It is not infrequently that we receive calls at LAFD Headquarters asking about the Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Museum, often times from a caller who was inspired by a "wonderful docent with a lovely British accent".
These inquiries of course, bring a smile to our face, as we picture the countless hours that Liz has devoted to the Museum and Memorial, often with broom or paintbrush in hand, and in recent years, not only serving as a 'can-do' docent, but also gracing celebratory events with her truly regal presence.
From graciously greeting dignitaries at LAFD Headquarters, to attending countless luncheons and banquets at which she proudly represented our agency, to the fallen Firefighter and family funerals at which she stood proudly by the Fire Chief, Liz Bamattre has always been there for her husband, and also for every member of her Fire Department family.
As we look forward to the great things to come in 2007, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank and offer a fond farewell to Liz Bamattre.
Thank you Liz. We love you, and we'll miss you.
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department
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