When LAFD Retired Chief Don Cate learned he could help the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund by becoming a member of the Eternal Flame Society, he decided it was a great way to make sure L.A. City firefighter families would always have a place to turn in times of need.
“I gave it a lot of thought, and my family is well taken care of, so I thought, why not? It will go to a great cause,” Don said.
When he looked at his assets Don realized as a member of the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association, he had a Life & Accident Benefit and a Death Benefit. Don says it was like finding extra money because he had forgotten all about them.
So, he made the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund the beneficiary of each. In doing so, Don has created a legacy; making the fund available for future firefighters.
Don retired from Fire Station 11 and Battalion 11 after dedicating more than 35 years to the LAFD and knows the job brings risks. During his career, safety equipment was not used the way it is today.
“We had two MSA breathing apparatus on the rig. If you went for those you were a sissy, you had to be a leather lung-er,” he says.
Knowing his planned gift will help people in times of great loss or tragedy feels right, Don says. “The history of the fire department was if you needed help it was there for you. If you’re going to pour some concrete, better have some beer afterwards ‘cause the guys are gonna be there,” he says. “If a recent widow needs her house repaired, the guys are always there…the backbone of our fire department is helping each other.”
Founded by firefighters for firefighters, the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund has been helping its LAFD members for more than 108-years. Thanks to planned gifts like Don’s it should be able to continue its mission for years to come.
“It would be a pity to see it demise and it’s up to [our firefighters] now to continue it,” he says. “They should do some long range planning because an organization like this; it’s one of a kind.”