Los Angeles Fire Station 39
Van Nuys, California

(July 4, 2023)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, good morning to all of you.  And Happy Fourth.  It was so important to us to be able to, as a symbol of the gratitude we have for the work that you do every day, to come here on our day of independence to thank you all. 

I was just sharing with some of the leaders: My husband, Doug — his brother just retired as a firefighter in Santa Cruz.  So it’s personal to us, as well as professional.

My entire career I’ve been so honored to work with California firefighters.  And you all do God’s work.  And in particular, you know where we are in terms of what’s happening with the climate, what we’re dealing with in terms of extreme weather occurrences, whether it is fires or floods.  You all are front center on all of these issues. 

And then, for this particular station, what you deal with here in terms of medical emergencies, what you have to deal with in terms of human condition, and do it with a perspective that is about being strong and enforcing what is important about the safety of the community, but also dealing with human condition in a way that it touches your heart sometimes, in terms of what you see.

You all do such extraordinary work that is about sacrifice, away from your family, being willing to go into dangerous situations.  And you don’t — you don’t (inaudible) enough.  But we’re working on that.  We’ve been able — President Biden and I (inaudible) more benefits for federal firefighters, and we hope that that is something that we can do that is a model of what we want to do more locally. 

But your work is extraordinary. 

You know, I’ve been — as a Californian, as a proud daughter of California — I’ve been in the United States Senate, and now as vice president, and a lot of what I’ve been doing is saying, “Hey, deal with extreme weather conditions in our country, understanding, in particular, wildfires.”  Because it’s something we know as California and Western states, but a lot of the infrastructure around extreme weather conditions for the country have been focused on hurricanes and tornadoes, right?

And so, getting everyone to understand that we need to have the same kind of response — emergency response — with resources, uplifting the folks who are responding to what we know is happening all the time.  We don’t even talk about wildfire season anymore because we know year-round you might be looking at it. 

I mean, thankfully, this winter, we had a lot of rain, and so wildfire season hasn’t really kicked up as quickly as it has in past years.  But it’s extraordinary the work you all do.

And you’re a model, here in Los Angeles, for the rest of the country, about the sacrifices and the serious work that firefighters do every day to uplift the lives and the livelihoods of people in the community. 

So, we wanted to come by this morning just thank you for all that you do.  And just know how appreciated you are.  You all work on behalf of people that, for the most part, may never know your names.  The work you do is on behalf of people that are perfect strangers to you, who you treat as family members in the kind of dedication and approach that you give every day to your work. 

That’s some of the most noble work anyone can do.  So thank you all, and have a Happy Fourth.  We brought some pies — (laughs) — and — just as a little gratitude for — for all that you do.  And I know you’re working all day, but find some time to rest as well.
     All right?  Thank you all.


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