May 16, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Rotary Club Honors Civil Servants:

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica held its Public Service Recognition Day last Friday, a day when Rotary thanks and honors the “organizations in Santa Monica that make it such a special place to live.”

There were three presentations: one for the Fire Department, Police Department, and Big Blue Bus. Each of the organizations selected a member within their organization to be honored at Rotary for their distinguishable work.

First to speak was Fire Department’s Battalion replica watches Chief Judah Mitchell, introducing his colleague and honoree, Sam Ruiz, an engineer at the Fire Department.

Mitchell said Ruiz had strong dedication to the community and, most notably, those less fortunate in the community.

Ruiz has served on the Fire Department’s holiday gift exchange for 12 out of the 13 years he has been with the Department. In the program, said Mitchell, members of the Department select families in Santa Monica “who are struggling and give ‘em a hand. We give gifts and turkey, ham, everything we can to support ‘em during the holiday season.”

Growing up, Ruiz’s family, like those he now helps, was in need of a helping hand. As a child, his parents would take him early one morning during the holiday season to the same sort of donation centers Ruiz now works at. His parents would wait in line for the doors to open and then one would quickly wake up the sleeping children in the car to join them in line.

After working at the Fire Department serving at the same centers he as a child visited, Ruiz realized that it was people like himself who had helped his family those many years ago.

Since then, he has been serving every holiday season for the last 12 years, in “hopes that every year some kid will feel the same way he did and continue to do this in their communities and possibly do it when they grow up.”

Next to be honored was Lead Public Safety Systems Analyst Eric Uller of the Police Department.

“We are an organization of about 460 employees, 228 vehicles, and a budget soon to be $83 million,” said Deputy Chief of Police

Al Venegas, who introduced Uller. “Eric oversees much of that in terms of technology and systems for our organization.”

“When we bought the black and white patrol cars that you see on duty, they cost about $26,000. When Eric is done with them – installing and updating all those things – they range anywhere from about $60,000 to $110,000, each. Eric oversees all of that,” he said.

The final person of the afternoon to be honored was the Big Blue Bus’ Transit Planning Administrator, Tim McCormick.

“Unlike Fire Fighter Ruiz, I did not finish at the top of my class. Unlike Eric, I don’t conduct my activities without complaint,” began McCormick humorously. “As a good Irishman, I am deeply attached to my complaints.”

He then quickly switched gears, going into a story about why he is in the field he’s in, one that at his first job he had doubts about.

“I got to the point where I wondered whether or not I was in the right field. I was up in the middle of the night and this was up in the East Coast where it rains. So it was raining, and I was driving down the road and saw one of my new bus shelters all lit up, coming up on the left. I looked at the shelter and there was a women with an infant,” he said, trying to hold back tears. “And she wasn’t out in the pouring rain. And I said that’s the gift. That’s the gift of public service.”

“That’s is why we do it,” said McCormick, finishing his speech and highlighting why the afternoon was so important. “We do it because we have the opportunity to make a huge difference in someone’s life and not everybody gets that gift everyday.”

in News
Related Posts

Vice Media Co-Founder Sells Santa Monica Canyon Estate for Record Price

May 14, 2021

May 14, 2021

Shane Smith sells Channel Road estate for nearly $50 million  By Chad Winthrop The co-founder of Vice Media has sold...

Construction Underway for Mixed-use Lincoln Boulevard Development

May 14, 2021

May 14, 2021

47 units with retail under construction  By Sam Catanzaro Construction is underway for a four-story mixed-use development spanning a whole...

Santa Monica Fire Chief Bill Walker to Leave Department for Texas

May 13, 2021

May 13, 2021

Chief moving to Texas to head up new position, be closer to family  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica’s fire chief...

Suspect Sought in Attack on Elderly Asian Man on Third Street Promenade

May 13, 2021

May 13, 2021

Santa Monica police looking for suspect in May 1 Third Street Promenade battery  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police are...

Ben & Jerry’s Closes Santa Monica Shop

May 13, 2021

May 13, 2021

First West Coast Ben & Jerry’s closes up shop on Main Street  By Kerry Slater Ben & Jerry’s has closed...

SMMUSD’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

May 11, 2021

May 11, 2021

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District honored with the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation For the 19th straight year, the...

Edify TV: A Look Into the Cold War-Era as Wende Museum Reopens

May 11, 2021

May 11, 2021

With relics of the Cold War-era on display, the Wende Museum in Culver City has reopened for in-person visits. Learn...

Convicted Arsonist Making Fire Pits in Palisades Bluffs

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

Homeless man named Hilton making fire pits in fire-prone hillside area By Sam Catanzaro   A convicted arsonist continues to make...

Rapper Saweetie Gives Surprise Performance On The Pier: Santa Monica Beat – May, 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Rapper Saweetie Gives Surprise Performance On The Pier * Santa Monica...

Head-on Crash on PCH in Santa Monica Results in Serious Injuries

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

Traffic collision occurs on Pacific Coast Highway near California Incline Monday afternoon By Sam Catanzaro Two people were extricated from...

Developers Looking to Replace Century-Old Santa Monica Houses with Mixed-Use Development

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

Two houses would make away for three story, 10 unit development By Toi Creel Two Santa Monica homes, both around...

Free LA Metro Rides Could Begin This Summer

May 7, 2021

May 7, 2021

Metro looking at late Summer Launching For fareless transit pilot program By Toi Creel K-12 students and low-income residents could...

Santa Monica High Named Among Top 1,000 High Schools in the Country

May 7, 2021

May 7, 2021

By Toi Creel Samohi has been named one of the best high schools in the country.  According to a recent...