Our Laguna: Community labors over annual breakfast

September 06, 2011|By Barbara Diamond
(Photo by Thad Hogan )

The Exchange Club's Labor Day Pancake Breakfast is a labor of love.

Firefighters, police officers and volunteers have been flipping pancakes, grilling sausages and brewing coffee for more than 20 years, under the direction of Sande St. John, as summer draws to an end.

St. John, hobbling around on a crutch and probably headed for surgery to repair her leg injured in a fall at her daughter's home, still managed to mobilize the troops again this year. After spending the past two months in a wheelchair, St. John certainly wasn't going to allow a blustery wind or the occasional rain drop to dampen enthusiasm.

"People don't work on Labor Day — unless you know Sande," said Laguna Coastal Taxi's George Kiepper, a volunteer.

Retired Laguna Beach Police Officer Ted Falenchi said the Pancake Breakfast is an opportunity for off-duty officers to get out into the community.

"I'm here to help Larry Bammer," Falenchi said.


Bammer, president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Assn., a job once held by Falenchi, will also be getting out into the community from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 17 at Main Beach where police will sponsor "Dunk-a-Cop," a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club.

There will be a dunk tank, and balls will be $1 each.

Among Bammer's fellow officers who spent the morning over a hot grill: Paul Bixby, Rowen St. Moritz, Jason Farris, who brought his whole family along — wife, Christy, and children, Chase, Carter and Jason Jr.Zack Filler, Brian Clasby, Robin Levinson, Jon Coutchie and Julia Bowman, the department's new crimes against persons officer.

Las Brisas and the White House provided the food, and the Orange Inn supplied the coffee.

Firefighters on pancake duty included Division Chief Jeff LaTendresse — assisted as always by son, CodyCrissy Teichmann, Bryan Sarjeant, David Lopez, Albert Herman, Robert Abijay, Danny Kalschewer and super chef Pat Brennan.

Retired Fire Capt. Eugene D'Isabella watched over the kids who clambered over the retired 1931 Seagrave Pumper he drove to the breakfast.

"That all I do these days," D'Isabella said. "The next time will be for the 9/11 monument dedication on Sept. 11."

Mai Huynh donated water. The Watermelon Fairy (Jessica de Stefano) distributed slices of the fruit. Miss Linda's puppets and violinist Doug Miller entertained.

Civilians also are recruited for the breakfast.

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles