by Mitch Lehman
Rush hour traffic came to a near-standstill on Monday evening as members of the San Marino Fire Department asked passersby to ‘Fill the Helmet’ for the family of deceased Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman, who tragically lost his life in a well-publicized accident while camping in the Los Padres National Forest.
Those who assisted at the corner of Huntington Drive and San Marino Ave. tossed over $5,000 that will be put towards an college fund for Herdman’s six-year-old daughter.
In all, more than $17,000 was raised by San Marino, South Pasadena and San Gabriel firefighters during the two-hour effort that took place between 4–6:00 p.m.
San Gabriel firefighters set up shop at the corner of Las Tunas and Del Mar while South Pasadena’s finest asked commuters at the corner of Fair Oaks and Monterey to pitch in – literally.
“There were some very special contributions,” said San Marino Firefighter-Paramedic Jeff Tsay, who is the treasurer of the San Marino Firefighter’s Association. “We had several clients of the Pop Physique exercise studio come out to donate after their classes. In San Gabriel, a boy drove past on his bicycle and tossed in his last nickel. This has been very inspiring.”
Herdman was found dead late last month after an eleven-day search. While camping with a fellow Arcadia firefighter, Herdman left the compound to look for his dog, who had dashed off into the wilderness. Barefoot and wearing only light clothing, Herdman never returned to civilization. It was later determined that Herdman had fallen from a cliff. His dog eventually resurfaced and was used in the widely publicized rescue effort.
A memorial service for Herdman was held yesterday, but donations to are being accepted through the Fire Family Foundation at www.firefamilyfoundation.org/How-to-Donate. Donations should be tagged for ‘Mike Herdman.’The San Marino Fire Department will also accept donations at their office next to City Hall.
“We are one big family,” said Tsay. “And so we look out for one another. This was a tragedy that we might be able to make a little less painful by offering an opportunity for Mark’s daughter to get a better education. We thank everyone in the community who has participated, and those who will.”
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