The LAFD Invitational golf tournament is an amazing event held for our L.A. firefighter charity. The money raised goes to the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund. It helps families of firefighters who have lost their loved ones and assists firefighters severely injured on-duty. It has been held at the Woodland Hills Country Club for the past few years and is a total blast! Watch the fun, games, excitement, and competition on the course and hear from generous donors who explain why it is so important to support our brave firefighters and their families.
Giving to the families of fallen and injured LAFD firefighters
Playing in the LAFD Invitational charity golf tournament is not only a great time, it’s for a great cause. Participants and sponsors are giving back to those who’ve sacrificed so much. If a firefighter falls through a roof of a burning building or gets exposed to toxic and deadly substances the family may face new bills and unexpected financial burdens.
Also, if tragedy strikes and a firefighter makes the ultimate sacrifice, many families need a wide range of emotional support and guidance. The Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund is there for these special heroes.
Retired LAFD Captain II Rick Godinez says it was great serving as a board member for the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association, the umbrella organization that manages the charity. “Helping out our widows and orphans and disabled firefighters is a near and dear thing to me.” Rick says, “But coming out here to play golf and interacting with our sponsors and some of our friends and our fellow firefighters, it’s just an awesome day out here. It’s so much fun.”
The LAFD Invitational golf sponsors
Many of the sponsors who contribute to the LAFD Invitational do it for a variety of reasons. Dave Heltsley, a longtime participant says, “It’s all about helping out, really. We know what they do for us, so being able to sponsor that and come out and have fun with them, enjoy their company, it’s just a bonus. So, we do appreciate you guys so much and this is how we try to show it because, you know, I can stomp out a fire, but they do it all!”
Ben B & Joyce E. Eisenberg Foundation
One of the event’s dedicated supporters is the Ben B & Joyce E. Eisenberg Foundation, represented on course by the late artist Mel Keefer and his son Tom. Mel is famous for being the illustrator of the longest running golf-themed comic strip called “Mac Divot.” Tom says, “Eisenberg. It’s a foundation. We have property that luckily generates some profits and we are obligated to give all our net profits away to charities every year, which is a happy, happy problem! So, you’re one of the main charities that we are always proud to support and we’ll continue to do so.” As for his big day at the tournament he says, “The highlight for me [in 2022] was when they remembered my father, Mel Keefer, who was also a proud sponsor of the tournament for so many years and most of the folks out here knew him well…we miss him because he used to always heckle and kind of cringe every time we’d tee off, but he was always a great spirit. So, thank you for remembering Mel.”
Flying Embers: a unique company gives back after a wildfire
“The reason we’re here today goes back to our origin at Flying Embers,” says Beryl Jacobson co-founder of the beverage company, a newer donor.
“Flying Embers was founded in Ojai, California in December of 2017, he says. “At the time, we didn’t have a name, but we were working on the product and that’s when the Thomas Fire came through and was headed straight for where we were brewing and everything that we were building.” Beryl says a core group of the founding team stayed behind to protect everything that they had been working on. He says one of the other founder’s homes, and everything they were brewing were full of flying embers and that is how the name came about.
“But also, that’s how our appreciation and our gratitude for firefighters and all that they do came as well. And so, at that time, not only did we gain a name for our new company, but we also gained a purpose. We began at that point moving forward to dedicate revenue towards firefighter and firefighter causes and giving back in the way that we could, from the revenues that we were going to have from our new company.”
Prizes and bragging rights!
The LAFD Invitational golf tournament is not only about fun and winning prizes and trophies, it’s also about bragging rights!
There’s a full round of tournament play. Things like, closest to the pin, longest drive and hole-in-one contests. Plus, the popular golf ball drop, a fancy twist on the traditional raffle, with big prizes. Even people who are not at the event can buy a chance to win everything from a big screen TV to an Apple iPad. Winners are selected after a downpour of golf balls are dropped from a fire truck ladder. There also is an exciting helicopter flyover, the LAFD Color Guard and so much more. Not to forget a delicious lunch, snacks and plenty to drink. Golfers can win great prizes, awarded to the top four teams and first place contest winners.
There are a wide range of sponsorship levels, from a $100 to $25,000 dollars. If you’d like to participate, find out more by clicking here: wodff.org/golf
By Charles Stewart