Torrey Pines High School students thank Carmel Valley firefighters

By Kristina Houck

Firefighters at Fire Station 24 were surprised with a special treat May 31. Torrey Pines High School students dropped off handwritten thank you notes and homemade cookies to thank firefighters for protecting homes and saving lives in the recent wildfires that burned about 27,000 acres across San Diego County mid-May.

“Their work is voluntary,” said Torrey Pines senior Ashu Bhadada, who coordinated the project along with her friend Mimi Najmabadi. Both students are a part of the school’s TPHS PALS (Peer Assistant Listeners) Program. “A lot of times we overlook how much courage and how much determination it takes to risk your life to save the lives of others.”

A Carmel Valley resident, Ashu said she had a number of 4S Ranch friends who were evacuated during the Bernardo Fire, which was the first of nearly a dozen wind-whipped fires that burned across the region beginning May 13.

To show their appreciation for the firefighters, PALS students set up tables during lunchtime to collect thank you notes. They also passed out blank sheets during their classes. Bhadada estimated about 300 notes were collected throughout the week for the firefighters at Fire Station 24, which serves Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights and the surrounding areas.

“It’s something they don’t have to do but they choose to do because they feel the need to protect us,” Ashu said.

“We should return the gesture as much as we can and show our appreciation.”