‘Words could only do so much’: Burbank business honors police and firefighters
A memorial honoring Burbank’s first responders was unveiled Wednesday afternoon in Story Tavern during a small ceremony attended by members of the city’s fire and police departments.
The memorial was the brainchild of tavern owner Brian Slaught, who wanted to show his appreciation of the city’s first responders. Dubbed the “Wall of Heroes,” it displays the names and photos of both active duty and fallen firefighters and police officers.
It’s also one of the first things people see when they enter the tavern.
Slaught, whose grandfather was a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, said during the ceremony he’s fully aware of the sacrifices first responders make in order to ensure cities such as Burbank are safe and attractive places to live.
“This wall is a thank you, and I can’t thank [them] enough,” he said. “I felt that words could only do so much and it needed to be backed up by action. This wall is an example of that.”
Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse said the wall will act as a constant reminder to Burbank residents of the sacrifices made by first responders in the line of duty.
I felt that words could only do so much and it needed to be backed up by action. This wall is an example of that.
— Brian Slaught
“As we go on, generation after generation, it’s very important to both departments that new people understand the rich histories, traditions and the losses that we have sustained,” LaChasse said.
One of the names on the wall is that of Burbank Officer Matthew Pavelka, who died in 2003 at the age of 26 when he was shot during a routine traffic stop. His passing marked the first shooting death of a Burbank officer since 1920.
Pavelka’s family — his parents Sue and Michael as well as his aunt Kathy were on hand for the memorial’s unveiling.
Other names include those who have been recently honored by their departments such as Sgt. Mark Stohl, who was named Officer of the Year by the Burbank Police Department.
Burbank Fire Battalion Chief Danny Alvarez said community support such as the wall “makes it such a joy” to come to work.
“Anyone on either one of our organizations would say that it’s an honor, not just to serve in this capacity [as responders] but to serve in the city of Burbank,” he said. “It’s times like this and in these situations that makes this such a special place to work.”