Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for July 24, 2024





For Immediate Release
June 17, 2024
Emergency Manager Mikaela Torres, (760) 878-0120

Crystal Geyser Hosts Celebration to

Honor Volunteer Firefighters

On Wednesday, June 12, Crystal Geyser held a heartfelt celebration at its Olancha water bottling plant to honor the heroic volunteer firefighters who safeguarded both the facility and the community during the Cartago Fire earlier this year. The event underscored the critical role of volunteer fire departments in protecting lives and property.

Volunteer firefighters from Olancha Cartago Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Bishop VFD, Lone Pine VFD, and Independence VFD were instrumental in containing the fire that broke out in Cartago on the night of April 3. Their swift action prevented significant damage, saving the Crystal Geyser Plant from major destruction and ensuring that its 120-plus employees would have jobs to return to.

In gratitude, Crystal Geyser presented generous donations last week to the fire departments: $30,000 each to Bishop VFD, Lone Pine VFD, and Independence VFD, and $40,000 to Olancha Cartago VFD. The celebration featured a speech by Crystal Geyser Olancha Plant Manager Tony Moore, who expressed deep appreciation for the firefighters’ efforts and encouraged Crystal Geyser employees, even those who may live in Kern County, to consider volunteering for the Olancha Cartago VFD. Moore emphasized that Crystal Geyser would support its staff by allowing them flexibility in leaving work to respond to emergency calls.

The event also included a delicious lunch provided by Rigos Tacos, enjoyed by Crystal Geyser employees and community members in attendance. Chelsea Benbrook, Chief of Olancha Cartago VFD, delivered a compelling call to action as she urged community members to volunteer. She highlighted the urgent need for more volunteers to support their operations, as the current team of 10 covers a 45-mile stretch of Highway 395, which sees frequent vehicle accidents and other hazards.

As a token of appreciation for Crystal Geyser’s ongoing support and partnership – which has included providing water to isolated communities during disasters in Inyo County – Chief Benbrook presented Moore with an Olancha Cartago VFD patch.

“Our community owes a great debt of gratitude to these brave volunteer firefighters,” said Mikaela Torres, Emergency Manager for Inyo County. “Their dedication and selflessness in the face of danger have made a tremendous difference. We are also deeply thankful to Crystal Geyser for recognizing their efforts and supporting our local fire departments.”

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact your local fire department.



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