Even as a number of their firefighters were deployed to distant locations around California where an onslaught of summer fires has been keeping the state on edge, the Alameda Fire Department carved out time to conduct its Annual Pancake Breakfast yesterday, July 29, as a charity fundraiser for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Boxer & Gerson attorneys Dennis Popalardo and Deirdre Mochel were there to support the effort, with Popalardo serving up sausages to an estimated 500 or more people over the three-hour event.
The festivities took place at Fire Station 1 in the island city of Alameda, and included a display of vintage fire engines, a mimosa booth for adults, raffles, and educational information on fire prevention and other fire-related matters. The personnel at all four Alameda fire stations belong to the International Association of Firefighters Local 689.
The event beneficiary, the nonprofit Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, maintains offices in three California cities—San Francisco, Fresno and Pasadena. The organization was formed in 1971 when 8-year-old Alisa Ann Ruch was fatally injured in a backyard barbecue accident.
Following the tragedy, her parents came together with local firefighters and medical professionals to create a foundation that would eventually become a chief provider of fire prevention programs and support for burn survivors through all stages of their recovery.
Those services include summer camp experiences and school re-entry programs for children, support groups for all ages, an annual three-day “Getaway” retreat for adult burn survivors and a Young Adult Summit for survivors between the ages of 16-20. Burn survivors who have benefitted from the organization’s programs annually number in the thousands.
Boxer & Gerson personnel provide frequent logistical support for the charitable activities of Bay Area unions. The firm’s attorneys and staff are often found on serving lines at the region’s breakfasts, barbecues and spaghetti feeds, while also regularly supporting evening banquets conducted by various unions and nonprofit organizations.