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Paying It Forward

SINCERE GRATITUDE: Members of the San Marino Fire Department were joined by longtime resident Winnie Reitnouer to honor her donation to the SMFD. PICTURED ABOVE, left to right, are Captain Mark Dondanville, City Manager Marcella Marlowe, Fire Chief Mario Rueda, Mrs. Winnie Reitnouer, her son John Reitnouer and Captain Dominic Petta. Left, Winnie announces “chow time” at the SMFD. Mitch Lehman Photos

At the 2016 edition of the San Marino Firefighter’s pancake breakfast, longtime San Marino resident Winnie Reitnouer purchased a fistful of 50/50 raffle tickets that are a popular attraction at the annual event. When she held the winning ticket for one of the two drawings, Reitnouer did something unexpected: she donated the money back to the Firefighters and the charities they support.

“They treated my husband with so much love and care,” said Reitnouer, who just two months earlier had lost her beloved Lynn, a former Mayor of San Marino.

Winnie Reitnouer

If that show of affection was exceptional, what the Reitnouer Family will do next Wednesday is downright astounding as Winnie, her son John, and his family will donate the funding to purchase a Zoll AutoPulse resuscitation system for the San Marino Fire Department. The AutoPulse enables firefighters and paramedics to deliver automatic CPR while allowing them to fight a fire or transport the patient without sacrificing manpower.

Chief Mario Rueda and seven members of the SMFD hosted Winnie and John to a special lunch at the station last week to memorialize the agreement over what Winnie said was “the best chicken sandwich I have ever had in my life.” She even had the honor of announcing that chow was ready over the public address system.

She also was able to reconnect with San Marino Fire Captain Dominic Petta, who was on duty on March 10, 2016, and informed Winnie that Lynn’s condition had worsened. Last week, Petta led Mrs. Reitnouer arm-in-arm on a tour of the station.

John Reitnouer, left, and San Marino Fire Captain Mark Dondanville review literature on the Zoll AutoPulse, which the Reitnouer Family is donating to the SMFD. Mitch Lehman Photo

“I cannot think of a better way to express my gratitude to the brave men who responded so quickly to the great needs of my husband in his last years,” Winnie said. “I am grateful to be able to provide something in the name of and in memory of my late husband Lynn Paul Reitnouer that will be a state-of-the-art enhancement to the excellent equipment carried on your emergency vehicles.”

Alogg with several other civic positions, Lynn Reitnouer served on the San Marino City Council from 1976-1986, and as Mayor from 1980-84. Ironically—or in this case, not ironic at all—Lynn Reitnouer was Mayor when the City of San Marino first added the paramedic element to the SMFD.

The AutoPulse was at the top of Rueda’s wish list and he is currently budgeting for a second unit to be purchased in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

True to their name, the Reitnouers didn’t wait.

“Thousand thanks for the splendid lunch and quality time with the gallant Firefighter/Paramedics of my beloved San Marino,” said Mrs. Reitnouer, in a letter of thanks.


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