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Fire Safe Council hosts firefighters at 10th annual Appreciation Dinner

The Deer Springs Fire Safe Council treated more than three dozen firefighters from the Deer Springs Fire District and the San Marcos Fire Department to a barbecue dinner to show appreciation for their lifesaving services.

The event, held last month, was hosted by Lawrence Welk Resorts, whose chefs treated the firefighters to a menu of barbecued steak and chicken, vegetables, a pasta bar and an irresistible dessert of bread pudding.

This year’s Firefighters Appreciation Dinner marked the event’s tenth year, establishing it as a tradition that firefighters and the Fire Safe Council look forward to every year. The cost is largely covered by donations from residents, with Lawrence Welk Resorts helping to underwrite costs as well.

CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Nick Brown, who also serves as chief of the Deer Springs Fire Protection District, honored Capt. Anthony Watters as the 2016 Deer Springs Firefighter of the Year. He also presented San Marcos Battalion Chief Scott Hansen with a special award in appreciation of the cooperation that San Marcos city has shown Deer Springs.

Watters, who serves in Fire Station 1 near the Deer Springs Road/Interstate 15 interchange, joined CAL FIRE in 1998, and has worked in the Deer Springs Fire District for the past three years. Brown recognized Watters for his professionalism, and for his dedication to his fellow firefighters and the community.

He also praised Hansen and San Marcos Fire Chief Brett Van Wey for a mutual aid agreement by which San Marcos and Deer Springs firefighters frequently cross jurisdictional boundaries to deliver the fastest emergency service possible.

The event also provided some levity, as on each night firefighters and their guests were invited to guess the amount of hazardous vegetation that the Deer Springs Fire Safe Council has chipped so far this year, in cubic feet. CAL FIRE Engineer/Paramedic Jeremy Pazienza, who is not assigned to the district but works here regularly, came closest with his guess on Friday night, and CAL FIRE Engineer/Paramedic Trevor Whitehead, who is assigned to Station 1 on Circle R Drive, came closest on Sunday night. (It’s a lot!)

CAL FIRE provides emergency services to the Deer Springs Fire Protection District under a contract that calls for engine crews working out of three stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CAL FIRE also operates a station on West Lilac Road that is not part of the district contract, but whose crews respond to local emergencies when available. About 13,000 residents live in the 47-square-mile district, which stretches from West Lilac in the north to Jesmond Dene in the south, and includes Hidden Meadows, Rimrock, Champagne Village, Gordon Hill and other neighborhoods.

Firefighters attending the dinner came from Deer Springs, West Lilac and San Marcos, whose firefighters often work side-by-side with Deer Springs firefighters.

Welk Resorts, which provided the venue, is a strong supporter of both firefighters and the Fire Safe Council. Welk Resorts General Manager Sean Coogan, who is also a director on the Fire Safe Council board, helped make this year’s event possible.

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