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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 5:22 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Firefighters Answer Call for Record-A-Thon Benefit

The Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic gets a good read from first responders, Westmont's president and a slate of political leaders

The local chapter of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic kicked off its 14th annual weeklong Record-A-Thon on Monday with a tribute to local firefighters.

“I’m particularly reminded on a high-fire danger day like today, that we’ve started the fire season already,” said RFB&D executive director Tim Owens, a Mission Canyon resident who was forced to evacuate during the Tea Fire in November.

“You guys were out there, and you put your lives in harm’s way, and we’re very appreciative,” Owens said to Santa Barbara fire Chief Ron Prince, Santa Barbara County fire Chief Tom Franklin and Andrew Madsen, representing Los Padres National Forest fire Chief Anthony Escobar. They were joined by several other firefighters at the RFB&D headquarters, 5638 Hollister Ave. in Old Town Goleta.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors Doreen Farr and Janet Wolf were also on hand to launch the Record-A-Thon, as were Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum and Councilman Das Williams, Westmont College President Gayle Beebe and Hillary Blackerby, representing Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

“Having been a school board member and a teacher, I just want to thank Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic because I know how important it is for kids,” said Wolf.

Farr said she was sensitized to dyslexia when she worked as a counselor at Westmont in the 1970s and assisted a student who needed help with reading. She added that two of her three adopted sons are slightly dyslexic.

Tim Owens, executive director of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, thanked local fire agencies for their service, especially during last year's Gap and Tea fires. Among fire officials on hand to help with the Record-A-Thon were Santa Barbara County fire Chief Tom Franklin, right, and Santa Barbara fire Chief Ron Prince.
Tim Owens, executive director of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, thanked local fire agencies for their service, especially during last year’s Gap and Tea fires. Among fire officials on hand to help with the Record-A-Thon were Santa Barbara County fire Chief Tom Franklin, right, and Santa Barbara fire Chief Ron Prince. (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic photo)

Beebe had a similar personal experience with RFB&D: His mother and older brother have macular degeneration and his mother used the RFB&D audio book service for several years.

Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic originally started out as Recording for the Blind, a service that began shortly after World War II, to help military personnel who had come home blind get equal access to education. In the late 1990s the organization changed its name to include dyslexia and other “print disabilities.” The local branch of the program has been around since 1976.

“Upward of 17 percent of population experiences dyslexia,” said Owens.

In keeping with the day’s theme of firefighting, one of the books to be read was Fire Officer Principles and Practice, a textbook for aspiring firefighters, and one of more than 30 books on firefighting in the organization’s library.

Later in the day, author Jane Heller stopped by to read from her recently released book, Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees.

Santa Barbara County fire Chief Tom Franklin volunteered a textbook reading of 'Fire Officer Principles and Practice.'
Santa Barbara County fire Chief Tom Franklin volunteered a textbook reading of Fire Officer Principles and Practice. (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic photo)

On Tuesday the Record-A-Thon continues with author Cass Warner, granddaughter of Harry Warner, the president and one of the founders of Warner Bros. Studios. Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is expected to lend his talent, as is author T.C. Boyle. Later in the evening the Ensemble Theatre Company will be reading the screenplay of the movie, Milk.

On Wednesday, author Stephen J. Cannell will be reading, while Thursday and Friday will see local businesses such as Deckers Outdoors, Horny Toad Apparel, Raytheon and Yardi Systems, and Rotary Club of Santa Barbara participating. Saturday will be the final day of the Record-A-Thon with a closing reception at noon.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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