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Alli Acker2013 T-CEP Volunteer of the Year
October 3, 2013 - By Flavia Potenza
PHOTO BY JAMES GRASSO
L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky presents Alli Acker with a proclamation for
her services to Topanga with the Equine Rescue Team.
The annual T-CEP awards gathering at the Mountain Mermaid on Sept. 14, honored immigration lawyer and founder of T-CEPs Equine Rescue Team (ERT), Alli Acker, as 2013 Volunteer of the Year.
Her dedication in coordinating with the Countys Animal Control Services made ERT a model for large-animal rescue throughout the County .
There were seven members who started ERT in 2000, said Mary Lukins, L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control. We met monthly for about two years to set up horse training classes. I realized there was a group of experienced horse people and we trained them in community response. It was easier than training animal control officers in horse management.
We got it up and running and have been improving it all along. In 14 years, ERT has been activated for 12 major fires, a number of minor ones and two this year. Alli is one of the absolute stars on our volunteer team.
T-CEP began in the mid-90s when residents noticed the absence of media information during the 1993 fire.
During T-CEPs formative years, Alli developed the Equine Rescue Team and a number of other things, among them T-CEPs bylaws, said Jack Mac Neil, who emceed the presentation.
The same issues we faced in Topanga were faced by horse owners throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. She taught them how to use trailers.
Our community owes a debt of gratitude to Alli, who loves Topanga as much as we love our Topanga Gal, our 2013 Volunteer of the Year, he said, presenting her with The Rock award, an actual chunk of the boulder that fell onto the S-Curves in 2005.
I walked down there, grabbed a boulder and brought it home, Acker recalled. I thought it would be cool to have a piece of that rock. And here it is, she said, holding up the plaque.
Giving a shout-out to Station 69, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, took the podium. We are blessed to have the most versatile fire department Ive seen anywhere. You can sleep a little better knowing these men and women are on the fire lines and they can sleep better knowing that there is no community that is as well organized and well prepared as Topanga, thanks to T-CEP. Thank you for making your community safe.
Alli Acker has had such a profound impact in the whole county. When [Senior Deputy] Susan [Nissman] came to me and said, Horses, I said, Really? and ended up in a photo with Alli and a couple of other people and a horse. It was kind of the newspapers to say left to right so people knew who was the horse.
ERT was born here and is now used throughout the county. One of the biggest problems that firefighters have is when a fire breaks out in the afternoon, people rush home to save their horses and get in the way of firefighters.
Handing the certificate to Alli, the Supervisor said, This presentation is special because its signed by all five members of the Board with a great deal of love and appreciation to you. Thank you.
Members of TCEP are, from left, Oliver Duggal, President; James Grasso, 2012
Volunteer of the Year; Jack Mac Neil; Rebecca Goldfarb; Scott Ferguson; L.A. County
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Bryce Anderson; and volunteer Susan Clark.
Because last years gathering was an informal barbecue when James Grasso was named the 2012 Volunteer of the Year, T-CEP officially honored him as well. Grasso is, hands-down, one of the most versatile assets for Topanga when it comes to his encyclopedic knowledge and experience in dealing with emergencies.
Susan Clark, of Topanga Animal Rescue, added: James truly is a master of all things. He helped us neuter a camel!
Its all been fun mostly, said Grasso accepting the award.
In closing, Mac Neil said, T-CEP may not have been here today without the support of the Third District and Zev Yaroslavsky. Hes done wonders for us.
Acker seconded the sentiment: Hes made all things possible.