Toni Hunt says she had a lot of time on her hands and wanted to get involved in giving back. Her brother, Frank Lucero, who’s a retired fire captain from LAFD Station 95 suggested volunteering with an L.A. firefighter charity. Having no idea where to start, she scrolled through Facebook and stumbled upon the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund— and immediately signed up.
A determined Toni connected with the volunteer coordinator and was invited to the non-profit’s annual luncheon for the volunteers. From there, she has been consistent with attending events of the organizations like the annual LAPD LAFD Still Saving Lives Car Show, holiday party, and Open House.
The involvement with the firefighting community goes back a long way for the Hunt family. During the start of his rookie years, Frank received a severe burn on the job when a Downtown L.A. nightclub caught on-fire. After the fire, she remembered the firefighters coming to visit her brother at the burn center and the care and thought of these firefighters in making sure her brother was okay and getting the proper treatment. Hunt describes the incident not just as a scared moment for her, but his induction into the brotherhood of the firefighting profession.
She says, “I’m not saying you have to get burnt to do that. You kind of paid your dues. Now, you are part of a brotherhood. They will give you more respect for that, that’s what he told me.”
Part of the Firefighter Family
The firefighting profession not only gave her brother a group of friends, but also gave Toni a couple of great gals to volunteer with at the Firefighter’s Fund. The first event that she attended was the annual Lane Kemper Classic softball tournament where she met another lady, Ann, who also started to volunteer for the organization—now, they always enjoy seeing each other at every event.
“I love these ladies. Juliet (the volunteer and event coordinator) is the best. She’s just a little firecracker and makes you feel wanted and loved, and Valerie Lawrence. They are just the sweetest women ever.”
Aside from her brother, Toni’s youngest son is getting ready to take the exam to become a firefighter. Her son currently works as a carpenter with a school district, but she says he has been longing to become a firefighter.
The firefighting community was open arms in welcoming Toni and her family whether it’s in the profession or volunteering. She heavily invests her time into the organization, and plans to stay dedicated for a long time.
By Katherine Abando