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Valleywide Focus

TARZANA : Officers, Firefighters Honored for Service

September 24, 1993|JEFF SCHNAUFER

Saving lives in the community has been a tradition in Gary Johnson's family for generations. On Thursday, the community saved a little time to honor that tradition.

Johnson, a paramedic with the city of Los Angeles Fire Department Station 100, along with three San Fernando Valley police officers and a firefighter, were honored Thursday at the Braemar Country Club in Tarzana.

"I'm very grateful," said Johnson, a 22-year veteran whose father, a brother, a cousin and several uncles have served the department. "There is almost 200 years of combined service in my family." The special ceremony sponsored by the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce was intended to thank those who often go unrecognized by the public.

The event drew praise from chamber leaders and such speakers as Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Mark A. Kroeker and Assistant Fire Chief Ed Allen.

From the Los Angeles Police Department West Valley division, those honored included Detective Bill Seeley and Officers Mike Rosello and Rob Humphries. Also honored were Los Angeles City Fire Department firefighter Brian B. Zeiner and firefighter/paramedic Johnson.

Rosello, a four-year veteran of the department, and Humphries, a three-and-a-half-year veteran, are partners who were recognized for their achievements in the short time they've been on the force, Kroeker said.

Last month, the pair arrested a suspect who allegedly tunneled through the walls of Ventura Boulevard mini-malls to burglarize computer stores. Both have also been honored by the California Highway Patrol for arresting at least six suspects driving stolen cars during a one-year period.

Seeley, a veteran of the department for more than 21 years, was honored as Detective of the Year for his division and by the chamber. He was commended for revising his station's defense plan and authored a domestic violence handbook that is now used by the department's detective school.

"We can't say enough by way of gratitude," Kroeker said of his officers.

Each honoree was bestowed with a commendation from city, state, and federal elected officials, including a "thank you" letter from President Clinton. Baskets of food and wine were also given by the chamber to each recipient.

Zeiner of Station 93, a 27-year veteran, was described by Allen as one who knows his surroundings like the back of his hand. When a call comes in for the Tarzana area, Allen said, the other firefighters look to Zeiner to pinpoint the location.

"These are the people where the rubber meets the road every day, who are protecting you and your community," Allen said.

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