The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce showed their appreciation to the men and women in uniform at its annual Police and Fire Fighters Appreciation Day BBQ at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Hollywood Division on Friday.
Temperatures hovered above 95 degrees on a day when grillers could have cooked the food on the LAPD parking lot surface, but that didn’t stop hundreds of service men and women from enjoying music and food with some of the chamber’s celebrity helpers to cap the summer.
“It’s a special day. It’s a way for at the community to show them at least once a year that we really appreciate the fact that they put their lives on the line for the community,” said Leron Gubler, Hollywood Chamber president and CEO.
LAPD Officer Art Bedard said he heard fellow officers talking about the barbeque leading up to Friday, and he knows they look forward to it each year.
“It shows we have support out there in a trying time, and it’s definitely a boost in officer morale,” Bedard said. “Plus we get to meet people we don’t normally get to meet.”
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has been hosting an outdoor barbecue for police and fire fighters every year for more than two decades.
“When we began this, we actually did a little barbecue on the roof at the old Hollywood Roosevelt. It’s a little too hot for that today,” Gubler said. “And we only had one chef. Then we said, ‘we have to get three chefs,’ so it grew each year.”
Friday was the first time the barbecue was held on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“It’s in everyone’s memory today that so many people lost their lives 14 years ago on this day in New York,” Gubler said. “The whole nation was touched. And it’s seared into everyone’s conscious, just like Pearl Harbor for the World War II generation. I don’t think it will ever leave us. But when you think of the police and firefighters in New York and how so many of them lost their lives trying to save others, it really brings to mind the importance of the police and firefighters everywhere.”
Bedard said having the barbecue on Sept. 11 makes officers reflect back 14 years.
“It most definitely shows the appreciation that people have for first responders,” he said.
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